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Self-employed: Coronavirus

Question for Treasury

UIN HL10252, tabled on 11 November 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Centre for Economic Performance Self Employed: Six Months into the Crisis, published on 10 November; and what steps they are taking to support self-employed workers.

Answered on

26 November 2020

The Government recognises the impact that the changing path of the virus has had on the self-employed and has taken action to increase the level of support available through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

The third grant, covering November 2020 to January 2021, has now been increased to an overall level of 80 per cent of average trading profits, meaning that the maximum grant available has increased to £7,500. This provides equivalent support to the self-employed as is being provided for employees through the Government contribution in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

This will provide an estimated £7.3bn of support to the self-employed through the period of November 2020 to January 2021 alone, with a further grant to follow covering February to April 2021. This places the SEISS among the most generous schemes for the self-employed in the world.

The SEISS continues to be just one element of a comprehensive package of support for the self-employed. The Universal Credit standard allowance has been temporarily increased for 2020-21 and the Minimum Income Floor relaxed for the duration of the crisis, so that where self-employed claimants' earnings have fallen significantly, their Universal Credit award will have increased to reflect their lower earnings. In addition to this, they may also have access to other elements of the package, including Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, mortgage holidays, self-isolation support payments and other business support grants.

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