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Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Treasury – in the House of Commons on 18th May 2020.

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Photo of Tracy Brabin Tracy Brabin Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

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

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Chancellor of the Exchequer

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.

Photo of Tracy Brabin Tracy Brabin Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

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?

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Chancellor of the Exchequer

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.