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Question for Treasury

UIN 79369, tabled on 22 November 2021

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate his Department has made of the potential effect of the phasing out of Government covid-19 support on the number of the self-employed; and whether he has commissioned research on the impact of that matter on the employment rate.

Answered on

30 November 2021

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) provided unprecedented support to self-employed people who met the eligibility criteria. As of 4 November 2021, the scheme had supported 2.9 million people through 10.4 million grants worth £28.1 billion.

As set out in the Plan for Jobs Progress Update, published on 13 September 2021, the economy is now in a stronger position than it was last autumn, and the labour market is in a stronger position too. As the economy has reopened the jobs market has recovered, vacancies are at record highs, and the success of the Government’s vaccine programme has allowed us to lift almost all restrictions.

That is why it is right that the Government has wound down its temporary pandemic support, while continuing to support businesses to invest in the recovery and supporting people into new jobs. At the start of this crisis, unemployment was expected to reach 12 per cent or more. It is now expected to peak at less than half of that level, at 5.2 per cent. That means more than two million fewer people are expected to be out of work than previously feared. As we move to a new phase of the Plan for Jobs, the Government will continue to maximise employment across the country, create high quality, productive jobs, and deliver the skills that people, businesses and the economy need to thrive as we build back better.

HMRC and HM Treasury will also carry out an evaluation of the SEISS to help inform future policymaking and delivery. The self-employment data necessary to carry out a full SEISS evaluation will not be available until 2023, upon HMRC’s receipt of Self-Assessment returns.

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