Lockdown: Economic Support

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:39 pm on 3rd November 2020.

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Photo of Steve Barclay Steve Barclay The Chief Secretary to the Treasury 12:39 pm, 3rd November 2020

My right hon. Friend is right to point to the fact that some were not covered. In fact, that has been an area of much debate within the House. He will understand that there is a distinction to draw between employees who, because their details had not been notified to HMRC at the cut-off point last time, were excluded, and those who because of the furlough extension will be included moving forward, so some of that population cohort are covered.

In respect of the self-employed cohort, my right hon. Friend will be aware that we have so far offered over £30 billion of support to the self-employed, which is generous by international standards. He knows, however, that, within that, there are different cohorts. There is the cohort relating to company directors, where the issue remains the same: what is dividend income and what is not. He will know that another part of that group is those earning above £50,000, and we made a decision to target support below that threshold. He will know that some people are self-employed but that is not the majority of their income—less than 50% is through their being self-employed—and that we targeted funding at those for whom self-employment was their main provision. So there are different cohorts within the excluded population, but those who were employed will be covered by the furlough extension.