The Government have put together an unprecedented package of support for the self-employed, including the self-employed income support scheme, the temporary £20 per week increase in the universal credit standard allowance, and temporarily suspending the minimum income floor. The self-employed are also able to access the restart grant, the recovery loan scheme and business rates relief.
I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. However, my experience with some self-employed people in my constituency is that, having been self-employed for several years and accepted support from the self-employed scheme, if they then try to get credit, they are told that because they were on that scheme they are no longer eligible for credit, even though there is no reason to suspect that they will not be able to carry on being a guitar teacher, or whatever it is that they do, after the crisis is over. What can he say to the banks to ensure that they take a sensible approach to these people, who have perfectly sustainable businesses that have been suspended temporarily because of the Government’s restrictions but are just as good a credit risk as they were three or four years ago?
The hon. Gentleman makes a very sensible and worthwhile point on this matter. We are looking closely at the Financial Conduct Authority’s “Financial Lives” survey, which indicates the degree of liquidity that exists. I work closely with the lenders on affordability assessments for the self-employed. I am happy to commit to continue to keep this matter under review and to receive further representations from him.