Our work coaches provide tailored support to self-employed claimants, helping support new businesses to thrive and working directly with them to increase their earnings. We have ensured that those who are gainfully self-employed and moved to universal credit are exempt from the minimum income floor for 12 months. We are extending that to all claimants who are gainfully self-employed from September this year.
I thank the Minister for that answer and am pleased that she is supporting self-employed people—not only in Rother Valley, but across the country. However, does she agree that the current blanket approach of the IR35 rule will lead to some damaging unintended consequences? Will she ensure that no one forced to take a permanent job under IR35 will lose out, and that we will continue to be the party of business and entrepreneurship?
I thank my hon. Friend for his question and welcome him to his place. I am delighted that more than 5 million people are now self-employed; that is fantastic news. This issue is the priority for me, alongside progression and youth opportunity. The Chancellor has announced a consultation in January and I urge all Members to take part; it concludes in the middle of February. We are keeping a close eye on this sector, and it is absolutely right that we should stand up for the self-employed.