Doctor dies in the UK from suspected coronavirus

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the Government is offering “the right response” for self-employed workers.

Mr Sharma told BBC Breakfast: “The Chancellor was very clear that we want to do this as quickly as possible, we’ve set a date of June, if we can do it faster we will, but it is a complicated system that we are designing and we want to make sure we get it absolutely right.”

Responding to shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s calls for former HMRC staff to return, Mr Sharma added: “I don’t think the block right now is the number of people within HMRC, the issue here is building the system and that is what we’re doing.”

On the £50,000 cap, he added: “For those who are achieving profits of over £50,000 a year, their earnings on average is around £200,000 and the aim of this is to make sure we target those who are most in need, and I think our assessment is that if you have earnings that are on average around £200,000 you may well have other support, other savings that are available to you.”

On those who have been self-employed for less than a year not being eligible for the package, Mr Sharma said: “The reality is if HMRC has had no contact from those people during the time they’ve been self-employed then of course it’s very difficult to make an assessment on that.”

He added: “Very many of your viewers will appreciate that at the end of the day, this is taxpayers’ money, and we want to make sure that we have the right checks and balances in place and that we get money to those who are most in need where we have their details and we know that they have had a trading history.”