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

Such has been the number of times that the matter has been raised in the House and through the campaign, we have looked at it. Some of those issues have not changed—for example, the difficulty of determining what is dividend income as opposed to earned income, as I referred to in my answer to my right hon. Friend John Redwood. We took a decision to target those below the £50,000 threshold. Some of those issues have not changed from the previous period.

The hon. Gentleman is right that the furlough allows some of those who were excluded to come within scope, but I draw the House’s attention to the fact that, even within the House, there is a degree of conflict here. The Treasury Committee has said that we should be more willing to bring the cohort of the self-employed into scope, yet the Public Accounts Committee has expressed concern that we need to have much stricter operational controls because of the risks, for example, of fraud. We see that difference even between the two Select Committees in this House. Of the different cohorts within what is known as the ExcludedUK campaign, some of those on furlough will be able to come back into scope, but much of the rationale has not changed. Of course, we will continue to look at it.