Skip to main content

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Volume 676: debated on Monday 18 May 2020

What plans he has to modify the self-employment income support scheme as part of the Government’s covid-19 lockdown exit strategy. (902683)

The self-employment support scheme opened last week ahead of schedule and provides support worth up to £7,500 to millions of individuals. I am pleased to tell the House that, at the end of yesterday, there had been more than 2 million claims, with grants worth £6 billion in total being claimed for. Those people will have the money in their bank accounts within six working days of their claim, and of course, I will keep the scheme under review.

I thank the Chancellor for his response. Despite him saying that the self-employment scheme is one of the most generous in the world, tens of thousands are still missing out—new starters, pay-as-you-earn freelancers, those paid through dividends and those earning over £50,000. I have three simple questions for the Chancellor. Will the self-employed income support scheme be extended in line with the job retention scheme? Are there plans to lift the cap on profits? And will he please look again at supporting new starters?

We have discussed these things before, but I do not believe that removing the cap would be the right or socially just thing to do. The average income of those above the cap is £200,000, and 95% of those who are self-employed fall underneath the cap.