Struggling self-employed people who are not covered by the Government's financial safety net supporting those affected by Covid-19 should seek advice as soon as possible, an insolvency trade body has said.

Duncan Swift, president of insolvency and restructuring organisation R3, said the limitations of the Government's measures to help the self-employed "do stand out".

"There are quite a few gaps in the support: for people who have only recently started working for themselves or who pay themselves through dividends, there may be no help at all," he said.

"Anyone who is in financial difficulty or starting to see signs it may be around the corner should seek advice from a professional as soon as possible."

Those self-employed people who are eligible for help unveiled on Thursday will be able to receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least three months.

But, in order to be eligible, they need to have been operating for at least a year and have had a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.

To qualify, more than half of their income in these periods must come from self-employment.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma insisted that the Government is offering "the right response" for self-employed workers.

He 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."

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."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the scheme covers 95% of self-employed people for whom the majority of their earnings come from that work.

Tom Evennett, head of personal tax at Ernst & Young, said: "There will be a group of taxpayers who are just over £50,000 - such a hard cut-off could be seen as rough justice."

Nick Hill, a money expert at the Government-backed Money and Pensions Service, said: "Hard as it is, the most important thing, now more than ever, is to take a moment to assess all your outgoings, talk to your creditors, and check whether you can access savings which would normally be locked away.

"If, after that, you are still worried about making ends meet, make sure you have fully considered all your options before looking at credit products to plug any gaps, and that you have understood the terms and conditions and know how much you will have to pay back in future."

Heather Self, of tax advisory firm Blick Rothenberg, said: "People with new businesses starting after 5 April 2019 will not qualify. This is needed, HMRC say, so that grants are based on existing tax returns rather than running a higher risk of fraud, but it's very harsh for someone who left employment last summer to start a new business

"Junior barristers - who are typically self-employed but often earn very little in their first year or two - are an example of new businesses who will be affected, as well as the more obvious plumbers, hairdressers and so on."