Daily horoscope for Friday April 3 — here’s what the stars have in store for you today – The Sun


March 21 to April 20

AS Venus moves through your chart, you free up words that have been frozen, and push forward shared decisions.

In a family, this reshapes a future, in a couple it helps both partners clear minds and reboot hearts.

Single? Yes, you’re ready to ask a cheeky but charming question.

The moon and sun turn cooling luck hot.


April 21 to May 21

You’re well into a phase of weighing up what you want to keep in your life, and how much you can let go.

One name you want to keep close is such a surprise.

If you’re single, do explore why.

If you are already in love, the best gifts cost nothing.

Hold back on makeover ideas until you can get a second opinion.


May 22 to June 21

As you welcome the generous spirit of Venus into your personal chart space, together you can create ideal passion conditions.

From forgiving past mistakes to skipping forward several stages in bonds that just feel right, you’re ready for major moves.

Swapping recipe or cash tips could change your single status.


June 22 to July 22

The secret heart of your chart, that defines your true self, hosts a move by Venus.

And overnight you’re able to share so much more of yourself – try it and see.

A distant connection is coming closer every day.

Keep spending choices to yourself till you are really sure, it’s not a good idea to share them too soon.


July 23 to August 23

The harmony planet, Venus, takes up position in your friendship zone, sending such a message that you definitely need certain people, whether you realise it yet or not.

So take time to show everyone in your life how much you care.

If a helping task has outgrown your time, this is the perfect day to seek assistance.


August 24 to September 22

Your success sector glows and favours slow-grow challenges rather than fast-track ones.

So don’t be in too much of a rush to reach a destination, just sit back and enjoy the journey.

In love terms, Venus shows a success streak ahead, whether you’re single or attached.

The key is to set a goal, and then stick to it.


September 23 to October 23

Warmth and understanding linked to trying something new is at the heart of your chart – this is your perfect moment to sample an activity.

Or pick up a former challenge where you left off.

In love terms, you push boundaries and really start to feel like your true self.

This time, don’t back down, stand by your requests.

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October 24 to November 22

You have everything you need already in your life, and as Venus shifts signs, you see exactly where.

Yes, the future may involve making some emotional changes, but you will grow stronger as a result.

In passion terms, you are ready to find love that alters to fit you, rather than vice versa.

Luck opens a small silver box.


November 23 to December 21

You are a natural mediator right now, gifted in getting other people to find ways to discuss rather than dispute.

The new position of Venus also opens up your heart to love that may not be perfect but it feels just right for you.

And you look so good together.

Luck circles a former address and team of neighbours.


December 22 to January 20

Passion flips from casual to serious almost overnight, and takes you with it.

Yes, changes are real, and they will last.

But do be careful not to over promise.

Stick to what you know you can do, and feel.

You have on-point property skills – transforming it, finding it, writing about it.

So do look into developing these.


January 21 to February 18

Romance is in the air, and you have an emotional lightness of heart that needs to be spread as far as possible.

So make that call, ask that question, set up that unique meeting-point – and do it all with your star charisma.

Trying to step out of a work dispute won’t work for you.

Aim to stay impartial, but involved.


February 19 to March 20

Everything you love about where and how you live is ready to be celebrated as Venus steps up.

This helps you find special ways to show family and everyone close to you how much you value them.

A rich source of cash links to a past skill.

Finding a new way to market this, maybe across generations, is a great move.

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Second ‘Clap For Our Carers’ NHS tribute planned for tonight should honour our bin men and supermarket workers too – The Sun

THE second 'Clap For Our Carers' NHS tribute planned for tonight should honour our bin men and supermarket workers too.

Millions took to the streets last week to applaud our health workers, but it is only fair to recognise the contribution of other key workers tonight and every Thursday night during the coronavirus crisis.

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Key workers such as bin men, supermarket workers and cleaners are playing a vital role in keeping the country going alongside our NHS.

Campaign organiser Annemarie Plas, who organised the applause last week, called on the nation to recognise the hard work of these other key workers tonight who "keep our world turning" in addition to our NHS heroes on the frontline.

She said: "This time we will add everyone that is helping to keep our world turning. All who are out so we can stay in."

You can even turn your house blue in support — like 200 UK landmarks including Tower Bridge, the White Cliffs of Dover and Angel of the North near Gateshead.

Millions took part in last Thursday’s first clap and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, in isolation with the illness, said: “It was incredibly moving to see the country come together to thank our NHS heroes.

“I’m fully behind any effort to make sure they know just how much we value them.”

Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, added: “I know how much last week’s extraordinary scenes meant to my colleagues.

"So I would like to thank The Sun for backing this campaign.”

The clapping was the brainchild of South London yoga teacher Annemarie Plas.

She said: “We will do this every Thursday at 8pm to keep supporting those who are under enormous stress day in, day out.”

Celebs back our campaign

BGT judge Amanda Holden: 'The NHS is amazing.  It’s important  they feel our appreciation.'

Strictly star A.J. Pritchard: 'We’ll be clapping for the incredible NHS …please do get involved, too.'

Radio host Myleene Klass: 'The NHS are doing an incredible job during such a difficult time.'

Pop star Olly Murs: 'Get out on your doorstep or balcony every Thursday and clap LOUDLY!'

Britain’s Got Talent’s Amanda Holden is among stars backing the national applause.

She said: “The NHS is amazing. They are saving lives daily. It’s important they feel our appreciation regularly.”

GMB host Piers Morgan said: “Last week was one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever been involved in.

"It would be great to do it every week at the same time.”

Sarah Moppett, deputy chief nurse at Nottingham University Hospitals, said of last week: “You could hear fireworks, amazing cheers and clapping from all around.

“I can’t tell you how many responses I had from colleagues saying how fantastic it was.”

Dr Matthew Boulter, a GP in Penzance, Cornwall, said: “Many of our staff broke down and wept.

"I’m so pleased The Sun is encouraging people to make it a weekly thing. It has an enormous effect on morale.”

Craig Leathard, a nurse at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, said: “I’ve stood on ambulance bays and shed sad tears over the years, but last week was different.

"I can’t tell you how special, connected and proud it made us feel.”

Events producer Kenny Underwood — responsible for the last two Jubilee celebrations — helped with the Make It Blue idea.

Kenny, from Kent, said: “The number of people who came on board was breathtaking.

"We want to get bigger and better every week until this crisis is over.”


#MakeItBlue is asking the nation to create fun content with what they have at home – to not only show their gratitude, but also inspire others to get involved and share. It couldn’t be easier.

1. CREATE – This could be a video, a photo, messages of support – anything that spreads positivity and thanks. The only rule is, make it blue.

2. UPLOAD – Just add the hashtag #MakeItBlue when uploading to your social channels.

3. SHARE – Help spread the message further – just nominate your friends and family to get involved too. We think the NHS are amazing, let’s make sure they know.

It comes after two NHS workers were revealed among the ­latest victims of Covid-19.

Consultant Dr Alfa Saadu, 68, refused to retire and continued to treat elderly patients.

He was the fifth frontline UK medical worker to die after catching the bug.

And 57-year-old healthcare assistant Thomas Harvey died on Sunday after he was infected at Goodmayes Hospital, East London.

Friends claim the dad of seven was not given protective equipment and was not tested despite showing symptoms.

Yesterday the Government came under fresh fire over a lack of testing for NHS staff.

Chaos continued as workers desperate to know if they had the virus were turned away from a temporary testing centre at Ikea in Wembley, North West London, for not having the proper paperwork.

MPs and experts urged Boris Johnson to launch a Dunkirk-style mobilisation of Britain’s labs, universities and pharmaceutical companies to build the tests Britain needs.

Just 2,000 frontline NHS staff have been formally swabbed for coronavirus.

Claims by the Government that a lack of essential chemicals was preventing more widespread testing were ridiculed by experts.

Meanwhile NHS data suggests that up to 1.7million Brits may have been struggling with the virus in the past fortnight.

Yesterday bankers were blasted by owners of struggling small businesses for not releasing loans to help them.

Up to one million could go under in the next month.

As complaints piled up, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “It would be completely unacceptable if banks were unfairly refusing funds.”

Prince Charles posted a video message telling of his “strange time” in self-isolation and urged the elderly and vulnerable to take care.


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Kim Kardashian SLAMMED for promoting pricey SKIMS line as fans suffer under coronavirus pandemic – The Sun

KIM Kardashian is being slammed for promoting her SKIMS line after most of her followers lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the country.

Fans even criticized her for only donating $1M to families who have been affected because of COVID-19.

Kim K took to social media to promote her SKIMS line – as she has done since launching it, but fans weren't having it this time around and slammed her for even posting the picture.

Along with a picture of her in the skin-colored shapewear, she wrote: "What you’ve been waiting for: the SKIMS pieces that revolutionized the shapewear industry are back and now available to shop in sizes XXS – 5X and in 9 tonal shades.

"With this restock, SKIMS will be able to help bring relief to those affected by COVID-19 by committing to donate $1M to families in need."


And although some fans can afford to purchase her shapewear during the pandemic, others can't and let her know that they didn't have jobs.

One person wrote: "Kim, we don't have jobs."

While another one wrote: "People aren't working … I can't imagine they're buying anything but essentials right now … just saying."

Others criticized her for claiming that they were waiting for the restock.

One fan wrote: "Actually we're waiting for a cure for COVID-19. The last thing we want is shapewear. Kim, there's people dying."

And another demanded she donates more money.

Other fans simply teased her with a famous line from Keeping Up With The Kardashians when Kim was crying over a lost diamond earring and her sister, Kourtney, yelled at her that people were dying in the world.

One specific fan even asked her where would they wear the shapewear when everyone was quarantined.

She asked: "Where are we going to wear this? Around the house?"


The 39-year-old announced a $1 million donation by her shapewear brand to families affected by COVID-19, on Friday.

She said that when the brand restocks on Monday, she will donate the generous sum to those affected by the global pandemic.

Kim said in the statement: “To support Mothers and Children in need during this time, SKIMS is committed to donating $1M to families affected by COVID-19."

She continued: "On Monday, we’re restocking the collection we first launched with, and in doing so, are able to help bring relief to those affected by this pandemic."

The mother of four continued: "I am so grateful to all of you who have supported SKIMS since we first started 6 months ago. It’s been a dream of mine for so long, and has only been possible because of your love for what we do."

And Kim isn't the only Kardashian-Jenner who is donating money for coronavirus relief efforts.

Her sister, Kylie Jenner, donated $1 million to help doctors get face masks, face shields and protective gear.

And their mom, Kris Jenner – along with Kylie – is in talks of making hand sanitizer for hospitals in California.

The 22-year-old makeup mogul has also been pivotal is spread the message to self-isolate to her 167million followers.

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Best ending for the ISIS prison break

A handful of ISIS thugs broke out of captivity in northeast Syria over the weekend, an unwelcome reminder that their particular plague is only in check, not yet eradicated from the face of the Earth.

According to the Syrian Democratic Forces, the outfit that runs the Ghweran prison in Hasakah, an entire building of ISIS detainees rioted Sunday, seizing control of the first floor and using torn-off doors to break down a wall.

The Kurdish-led SDF are under stress, as Turkish forces invaded Syria largely to eliminate them. Yet the SDF at various makeshift jails still holds up to 12,000 ISIS veterans that no sane person wants released.

With aerial surveillance help from US forces, the jailors expect to capture any ISIS killers who managed to actually escape the prison compound.

If any do make it out, here’s hoping the coronavirus gets them.

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Ralph Beckett eager for Flat season to kick off so he can unleash team of classy three-year-olds on Classic trail

RALPH Beckett is hoping the Flat season can kick off sooner rather than later.

The handler has a classy team of three-year-olds he is ready to unleash on the Classic trail, with Kinross top of the pile.

The Kingman colt was only fifth in the re-arranged Vertem Futurity Trophy at the end of last season but is as short as 12-1 for the 2000 Guineas, whenever that may be.

Beckett said: "He had a small hold-up in January, and that took us into February, but we are very pleased with the way he is training now.

"We will see how he is working at the end of next month, then take a view towards the Guineas.

"If I was happy with him here I would go straight there, but we need to make sure – and we will get a clear picture from his home work.

"If I'm confident in his work I would run him straight in the Guineas. Having already run and won at the track is a big plus."

Beckett believes Kinross had valid excuses for his Newcastle defeat.

He added: "He nearly got knocked over after a furlong – which didn't help – but that was not necessarily the excuse, it was more the fact his inexperience told.

"I think that would be the thing to take out of the run, first and foremost.

"We hoped for a lot more, having seen what we did at Newmarket, and we were confident with what he did at home. If he reproduces that and how he ran at Newmarket you would like to think he will be winning more races."


Beckett also hopes to have an Investec Derby contender on his hands in the form of Max Vega, a stylish winner of the Zetland Stakes.

He said: "Our plan was to put him in the Derby at the April entry stage, and run him in a trial when they show up. I think he will be suited by Epsom.

"The Zetland hasn't been a bad trial in recent years, and I'm very keen to go to Epsom if everything is right.

"He is never going to be a big, strong horse because he is a light-framed individual. He is not a particularly tall horse, and that is why I'm pretty keen to go to Epsom because he will definitely handle it in my view. He has the temperament to handle it as well."

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Mascat was second on his debut, before going one better at Newmarket, and could be another smart sort. The coronavirus shutdown is, of course, hampering everyone's schedule.

But Beckett said of Mascat: "Our original plan was to run in the Feilden, or a race like that, and we will probably stick to that sort of plan when we know how everything is going to fall into place.

"He will stay and get a mile and a half – but quite how high up the ladder he will go it is difficult to say at this stage, because the form of his win has not worked out as the second keeps getting beaten.

"His homework suggests he is up to stakes level, but I wouldn't have a strong view as to how high up yet."

Beckett made his name as an excellent trainer of fillies, and in Trefoil he could have another nice prospect on his hands – given how she won her only outing to date.

He said: "I trained her full sister Thimbleweed as well, and she got so far but didn't progress any further. This filly is a different type in that she is physically stronger and a more robust filly.

"We will probably run her in a trial first up and go from there. I'm confident she will stay further than a mile, because it looked on the sharp side at Newmarket and she galloped out really well.

"I'd say Lingfield is probably the most likely one at this stage."

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French Montana sued for sexual battery, allegedly drugged victim

A woman is suing French Montana for sexual battery, alleging she was drugged and raped in his home.

The victim, referring to herself by the pseudonym Jane Doe, is also suing Montana’s employee, Mansour Bennouna, and Coke Boy Records for assault and battery, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring, supervision and retention and negligence.

In legal documents, obtained by The Blast, Doe claims the 35-year-old rapper “had a longstanding practice of inviting women to their recording sessions, or choosing women at bars, and inviting them back to the Hidden Hills house.”

Doe goes on to allege that the defendants would supply women with drinks and drugs, “with the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with them, without any regard to whether or not they consented, or were able to consent.”

Doe also claims in the documents that the “Unforgettable” performer would supply “excessive amounts” of alcohol. He would also, allegedly, “often take drugs and encourage women” to do the same. She further claims that Montana and the others named in the suit “would sometimes without the women’s knowledge or consent provide drugs to interfere with the women’s ability to knowingly consent to sexual activity.”

Doe cites March 28, 2018, as the day Bennouna allegedly “sexually assaulted, sexually harassed, and raped” her. She also claims on the same date Montana “sexually assaulted, sexually harassed” her.

According to Doe’s alleged account of the events, earlier in the day, Montana had invited Doe to his music studio before inviting her back to his home with Bennouna. While at his house, Doe was invited to take a shot of alcohol and claims she completely blacked out following the shot. She recalls being incapacitated and “several men coming in and out of the bedroom.” She alleges French “was one of the men who entered the room and sexually assaulted her.”

Doe claims she had been “drugged and raped” and had a rape kit administered following the incident. The subsequent investigation showed the presence of semen. She also reported the alleged rape to the police.

Montana’s rep didn’t return Page Six’s request for comment.

Doe is seeking damages for the “extreme emotional distress, anxiety, flashbacks and depression” she experiences.

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Rihanna releases new music for first time in three years, upsets fans

Rihanna’s fans waited three years for new music from the pop star — but all they ended up getting was background vocals.

The Barbadian singer, 32, released new song “Believe It,” with PARTYNEXTDOOR — the stage name of Canadian singer Jahron Anthony Brathwaite, 26 — on Thursday, but her army of devoted followers are disappointed RiRi only sings the track’s five-word chorus and backup. That hasn’t stopped them from listening though: The audio and its lyric video have already jointly racked up nearly 50,000 views on YouTube as of this writing.

“Rihanna really made me wait three years for the background vocals?!” tweets one upset fan, to the tune of 6,500 likes.

“ ’Best make me believe it,’ echoing in my head for the next three years until rihanna gives us another lil feature,” writes another in a tweet that has racked up over 2,200 likes.

“Me listening to Rihanna sing the same 1 sentence in #BelieveIt as if I haven’t been waiting for an album for AGES,” tweets one listener, who was hoping for “R9” — what fans have dubbed the singer’s ninth studio album, which they hope is in the works and coming soon.

“Believe It,” is part of PARTYNEXTDOOR’s new album “PARTYMOBILE,” his first in four years.

Rihanna’s last album was “Anti,” released in 2016, which included the single “Work.”

“Believe it!!” Rihanna tweeted late Thursday night, tagging PARTYNEXTDOOR and including a preview of the track.

In addition to bringing some musical relief to her followers, Rihanna has also been doing her part to help combat the spread of the coronavirus. Earlier this month she donated $5 million to the Clara Lionel Foundation, which the Fenty Beauty, creator founded in honor of her grandparents. The money will go to food banks and supporting medical staffers with needed equipment.

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Lake District SHUTS for the first time ever in coronavirus lockdown

Lake District SHUTS for the first time ever as police fear another deluge of tourists this weekend amid coronavirus lockdown

  •  Cumbria Police has warned outdoor lovers that the Lake District is shut down
  • Officers said a significant number of people ignored advice last weekend 
  • Thousands of visitors went to the Lake District despite the threat of coronavirus 
  • Police will challenge motorists to prove their visit to the area was ‘essential’  
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

The Lake District National Park has closed to the public for what is believed to be first time in its history due to Coronavirus.

For centuries walkers have flocked to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, especially during times of turmoil, to find solace among its beautiful fells.

But this morning Cumbria Police have issued a stark message – the Lake District is closed.

Last weekend walkers ignored social distancing guidelines in the Lake District, gathering in groups, pictured here at the top of Scafell Pike

Groups of people were seen congregating on the way up to Scafell Pike in the Lake District last weekend, prompting today’s announcement by Cumbria police

Cumbria police have said the Lake District is ‘closed’ in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. They have warned tourists that officers will challenge them to determine whether their journey is ‘essential’. Pictured here is Windermere  which is almost empty 

The force says the announcement follows scenes last weekend which saw thousands of tourists descend on the area in defiance of Government orders to stay indoors.

Temporary Chief Superintendent Rob O’Connor said: ‘Last weekend we saw significant amounts of tourists travel to the Lake District, and my message is really simple, the Lake District is closed.

‘Pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed, and we do not want to see people travelling to the Lakes in caravans and camper vans or driving many miles in their cars to go walking on the fells.

‘The Government guidance is really clear in relation to personal movements to limit the spread of coronavirus.

‘It is really clear that people should not be travelling unless there is an essential reason to do so.

‘It does not mean on nice days you can drive into the Lakes and go walking, or ride your motorbike to Devils Bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale.

‘I still want my officers to engage, explain and encourage the public in relation to the restrictions that are in place.

‘There is now legislation that means people can be fined for breaching the restrictions, but my preference is that my officers do not need to resort to doing so, and that the public show common sense and do not travel into the Lakes.

‘Over the weekend people will see my officers in the Lakes and the Kirkby Lonsdale areas, and they can expect to be stopped and asked whether their travel is essential.

‘As we saw on Thursday evening there was an outpouring of support nationally for the NHS, and people need to ensure they follow the Government guidance and restrictions in these unprecedented times to ensure we do not overburden the NHS.’

Bars, cafes and amusement arcades in Windermere are all closed in line with government guidelines to reduce the risk of passing on Covid-19

Temporary Chief Superintendent Rob O’Connor said: ‘Last weekend we saw significant amounts of tourists travel to the Lake District, and my message is really simple, the Lake District is closed.’ Pictured here, Lake Windermere with all the tourist boats tied up

There have been almost 12,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, including the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who today admitted he had been infected by the disease and was in self isolation 

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Help for self-employed workers – the winner and losers and how it works – The Sun

THE government will pay 80 per cent of self-employed workers earnings that have been lost due to the coronavirus crisis. 

The "unprecedented" bailout package for people who work for themselves comes a week after the government promised an 80 per cent wage guarantee for PAYE employees.

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak shared details of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme as he addressed the nation with an update on the national emergency.

He told the five million self-employed workers: "You have not been forgotten. We will not let you behind. We are all in this together."

Those who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus crisis will be given a taxable grant worth four fifths of their lost earnings, worth up to £2,500 a month.

It will be calculated using the average monthly profits from the past three years.


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The scheme be open for at least three months, although it may be extended if necessary.

It's expected to cost the government around £3billion per month.

Self-employed workers won't need to apply for the grant. Instead, those entitled to the scheme will be contacted by HMRC.

The Chancellor, who's only been in the job for just over a month, continued: "We’re covering the same amount of income for a self-employed person as we are for furloughed employees, who also receive a grant worth 80 per cent.

"That’s unlike almost any other country and makes our scheme one of the most generous in the world.

"Providing such unprecedented support for self-employed people has been difficult to do in practice.

"And the self-employed are a diverse population, with some people earning significant profits."

Here we break down who are the winners and losers of Mr Sunak's bailout deal for self-employed workers:

Who are the winners?

Mr Sunak says that the scheme will help 95 per cent of freelancers, including those who made under £50,000 profit in the past three years.

That includes cleaners, plumbers, electricians, musicians, hairdressers and any other self-employed workers who earn less than the annual threshold.

'I had to borrow £200 from my son'

MASSAGE therapist Juliette Easter has been so badly hit by coronavirus shutting down businesses that she has borrowed £200 from her teenage son to get her through this month.

The 47 year-old would normally earn up to £600 a week from her Mobile Massage north London business which she has run for three years, giving her just under £3,000 in a good month. Now that has ground to zero.

She has turned to borrowing cash from her son Joshua, 18, as debts which she would normally have expected to pay easily have been left unpaid.

She told The Sun: “My last client was two weeks ago. I only have £100 in my account and I want that to go back to my son. I reckon I can survive another three days with bills incoming.”

“There’s been nothing for people like me. I pay my taxes, I declare my earnings, I try and do everything right, but I’ve had no help.”

“Obviously a mum never wants to borrow cash from her son, but I have gone from a thriving business to zero in just a month.

I don't feel good about it, but we need that cash for the house and he knows he'll get it back as soon as I get my first job when work starts again.”

She welcomed the new measures – but is still worried about cash in the short-term.

She said: "It doesn't really help me straight away. I want them to offer immediate assistance to people most in need. I do understand that is hard for the government to work out who that applies to but I worry what I will do for tomorrow and next week.”

Those long-term self-employed workers who have been unable to operate their businesses or lost work because of the outbreak will also be able to backdate their lost earnings to March 1.

Households where the majority of earnings come from self-employment will also be entitled to help.

People who missed the January self-assessment deadline have also been given an extra four weeks to submit their tax return and become eligible for the grants.

Who are the losers?

The most obviously losers are the  very recently self-employed. Freelancers who have been working for themselves for fewer than three years can submit the accounts they have but Mr Sunak admitted that those without accounts may not be eligible for the scheme.

They won't be able to claim the grant at all and instead will have to rely on savings and Universal Credit if they cannot cope with the loss of income.

People who are suffering now will also have to hold off until June 1 to get the payout.

Self-employed people who earn more than £50,000 also wont be able to get help through the scheme.
Mr Sunak says that this is to "make sure that the scheme provides targeted support for those most in need".

Only people who's majority of income comes from self-employment will benefit from the scheme.

That means if you have two jobs and a smaller part of your income comes from working for yourself then you won't be able to get help.

I worry it will take too long

ELECTRICIAN and dad-of-three Darren Lawton, 37, is worried he won’t be able to pay his bills as his business suffers during the coronavirus shutdown.

Geordie Darren, who has run North East Electricals, said:“I’ve had one job since the shutdown started. Yesterday, an elderly lady rang and her electrics had gone off.

“I couldn’t leave her in the dark with no power, I felt I had to go. But then I worry about giving her the virus – so I had my hand sanitiser and I have a protective suit, overshoes and a mask.

“I made her stay in the other room and kept my distance while I worked. I’ve earned just that £50 since it all started.”

Darren has always saved for a rainy day, but he could never have foreseen losing his own income, as well as that of his wife.

Darren’s wife Nichola, 38, has also lost work and – without government help – he is fretting how to look after kids Amelie is 8, Dexter is 6, and Finlay, 4.

He says:“My own mortgage is £600 per month, council tax is £320. On top of that I have all my utility bills.

“I have a bit saved, but you hear it’s months we’ll be in shutdown for and I won’t last that.

On the new measures announced today, he said: "It's good news. I won't complain too much about it – it's far better than what I thought I had last week – my main anxiety is how long it will take to come through.

“I worry for others. It will take until June? I hope I can cling on till then, but I know a lot of other people need that money now."

Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company will not be covered by the Self-Employment Income Support scheme.

Instead, their salary will be covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they are operating PAYE schemes.

Applicants will have to wait until the start of June before getting paid and they can only be backdated until March 1.

Any loss of earnings due to coronavirus made before then won't be covered.

The grants are taxable, which you will also need to take into account.

What help was already in place for the self-employed?

A range of measures has already been set out to help the self employed. These include:

Claiming Universal Credit and benefits 

Those who work for themselves have already been told that they may be able to claim Universal Credit if their business has temporarily closed.

Last week, as part of the jobs retention scheme, Mr Sunak upped the Universal Credit standard allowance – the amount you're paid each month – by £1,000 a year.

The rise will come into force from April 6 on top of a planned increased linked to inflation.

The current Universal Credit standard allowance ranges between £251.77 and £498.89 depending on your age and circumstances.

You may be able to claim Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under state pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • you live in the UK

In addition, Mr Sunak is suspending the self-employed Universal Credit minimum income floor for everyone affected by coronavirus.

The Universal Credit minimum income floor applies to those who've been self-employed for more than a year.

It's used to work out how much Universal Credit you get on top of your earnings, and is based on what you're expected to earn rather than your actual wages in reality.

This will be suspended as of April 6.

Self-employed workers may also be able to claim contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

You need to have two to three years worth of National Insurance contributions to be eligible.

Deferred income tax and VAT payments

Workers also now have longer to pay their income tax, under new help revealed by ministers.

The government has pushed back payments due in July 2020 under self-assessment to January 2021.

VAT payments have also been delayed from now until June 30.

Loan, mortgage and credit card holiday

You may also be entitled to loan, mortgage and credit card payment holidays, as well as having interest or fees on debts frozen.

Contact your financial provider to see what it’s offering.

Check for charitable grants: Many charities offer non-repayable grants to help individuals on low incomes.

You can use Turn2Us’s grant finding tool to check if you’re eligible.

You'll need to enter your postcode and financial information so the charity can see what help is available in your area.

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FaceTiming Is Better For Your Brain Than A Phone Call, According To Experts

Working from home can be rough: No contact with coworkers, no trips to the break room, just you, yourself, and your laptop. Zoom calls or other kinds of video conferencing will be forever remembered as hallmarks of this era. But FaceTiming doesn’t just offer convenience and a little face-to-face interaction: your brain reacts to videochatting similarly to an IRL encounter.

Isolation can physically change the brain over time, according to research, making us more anxious, suspicious, and angry. A video call can defuse those emotions and help you feel more connected to those around you.

"Working from home is not easy and requires quite a bit of discipline, so you should make time for socializing," Dr. Sarita Robinson PhD, CPsychol, SFHEA, ICPEM, an expert on the neuropsychology of survival and principal lecturer in psychology at the University of Central Lancashire, tells Bustle.

Seeing the people you know on your screen, whether they’re coworkers, friends, or family, will activate your brain in the same way as seeing them in the flesh. Humans love seeing other faces; our brains develop the ability to recognize and respond to faces at as young as five months old. A study published in Neurology in 2019 found that there are particular parts of the visual cortex devoted to scanning and interpreting the faces of others, including their emotions. Social interaction of all kinds is crucial to brain health, but visual contact with others appears to be particularly good for us.

Studies show that video calls, as opposed to phone meetings, can also be helpful for your emotional health. A 2018 study published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry looked at nearly 1,500 older adults in the U.S., who are more likely to be socially isolated, and found that using video chats to stay connected can reduce depressive symptoms by nearly 50% compared to audio and email connections.

Research published in Cyberpsychology: Journal Of Psychosocial Research in 2013 looked at 58 pairs of female friends aged 18 to 21. The researchers also found that while in-person conversations provided the biggest feelings of bonding, video chats were close behind. Audio conversations provided weaker feelings of bonding, with instant messaging last — though the more the women used emojis and typed laughter in the messages, the more connected they felt.

Video chats can also reduce anxiety, particularly at fraught times. "We draw on social support from our colleagues on a daily basis and it can be very difficult if we do not receive that social support," Dr. Robinson says. "When you are on your own anxieties and worries can seem much bigger than when we can share them with a friend. Having a chat, a laugh or just sharing worries with people can help us feel less anxious."

However, if your brain is responding to isolation by producing high levels of adrenaline, Zoom calls may make it worse, particularly if you experience social anxiety. Speaking to people over a video chat is just as stressful as speaking in person for some, particularly if formerly safe spaces like your home are now work environments. If this is the case, therapist Heidi McBain LMFT tells Bustle, try to figure out where your anxiety is coming from: is it about having to talk in front of a lot of people, being observed in your own home, or something else? "Once you know where your social anxiety is stemming from, try to figure out ways that you can still do your job while also taking care of your mental health," she says.

For some people, she notes, social anxiety may mean it’s better if you keep video off during some calls, limit the number of people per meeting, or do phone calls instead. She also recommends talking to your boss about how to manage your feelings, and prioritizing anxiety-calming self-care procedures like guided meditation, journaling, or talking to a therapist.

Even if you don’t spend a lot of time with colleagues at work, getting on that Zoom call is a good idea when you’re working from home, Dr. Robinson says. Get into a comfy chair and turn on the video; it’s good for your brain. Even if your cat keeps trying to join in.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC or NHS 111 in the UK for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Bustle’s coverage of coronavirus here, and UK-specific updates on coronavirus here.


Heidi McBain LMFT, therapist

Dr. Sarita Robinson PhD, CPsychol, SFHEA, ICPEM, principal lecturer, School of Psychology at University of Central Lancashire

Studies cited:

Di Lorenzo, R., Blasi, A., Junge, C., van den Boomen, C., van Rooijen, R., & Kemner, C. (2019). Brain Responses to Faces and Facial Expressions in 5-Month-Olds: An fNIRS Study. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 1240. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01240

Leopold, D. A., & Rhodes, G. (2010). A comparative view of face perception. Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983), 124(3), 233–251. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0019460

Sherman, L. E., Michikyan, M., & Greenfield, P. M. (2013). The effects of text, audio, video, and in-person communication on bonding between friends. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 7(2), Article 3. https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2013-2-3

Teo, A.R., Markwardt, S., Hinton, L. (2019) Using Skype to Beat the Blues: Longitudinal Data from a National Representative Sample. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 27(3) 254-262. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2018.10.014.

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