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Self-employed People (Regulation)

Volume 597: debated on Tuesday 30 June 2015

The enterprise Bill will help to save businesses £10 billion through further deregulation. We have committed to launching a review into tackling the specific disadvantages faced by the UK’s 4.5 million self-employed.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. As the self-employment ambassador, the issue of the IR35 constantly crops up when self-employed people write to me. Can we meet to see how we can simplify this?

I thank my hon. Friend for the work he has done and continues to do as self-employment ambassador. I would be delighted to meet him to discuss how we can make the system fairer, quicker and simpler for the self-employed. He will know that tax policy, in particular, is an issue for the Treasury, and I will bring it to the attention of my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary.

The number of self-employed people is growing, but they are often disadvantaged and face additional burdens when applying for a mortgage or to set up a pension scheme for themselves. What steps is the Minister taking to ensure that these barriers are not erected and do not attack the self-employed?

The hon. Lady is right to point out that issue. She may know, as I am sure she read it carefully, that the Conservative party had a very pro-business manifesto. We have rightly committed ourselves to having a review of the challenges faced by self-employed people and their businesses, and that would include looking at the issue she raises: access to mortgages.

The self-employed in Kettering and across the country are the unsung heroes of the economic recovery, yet their terms and conditions, with no sick pay, no holiday pay and inadequate pension provision, are akin to those on zero-hours contracts. What will the Secretary of State do in this Parliament to ensure that the rewards for the self-employed, with their enterprise and endeavour, are properly recognised?

My hon. Friend, as usual, is spot on. He should know that this review will look at precisely those issues. A number of challenges are faced by the self-employed and it is about time the Government took a careful look at them. That is exactly what we will be doing.

The Government’s universal credit plans are set to burden 600,000 self-employed people with additional red tape requiring them to provide a new set of monthly accounts. Given that the Secretary of State is responsible for cutting red tape, what is he doing about that? What is he doing to put self-employed people first?

The hon. Gentleman will know that the universal credit plans are essential to make sure that work pays, and I would have thought he would support that. On the issues that it might raise for small businesses and the self-employed, it is important that we look at the net burden of regulation on businesses and keep reducing it.