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Covid-19: Support for the Self-employed - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:54 pm on 24th March 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Altmann Baroness Altmann Conservative 2:54 pm, 24th March 2020

My Lords, I commend the Government for removing the universal credit minimum income floor for the self-employed and for the business interruption loan scheme for sole traders and freelancers. However, in the meantime, self-employed and freelance workers are likely to need to turn to their banks, either for a credit card or an arranged overdraft. Credit card interest rates are now significantly higher than they were before the 2008 crash—they have just reached another record high—and arranged overdraft interest rates have just increased significantly to around 40%. Given the dramatic drop in Bank of England interest rates, would my noble friend agree that it might be time for the banks, especially given the huge sums they received from the public during the last crisis, to consider dramatically reducing interest rates on credit cards and overdrafts? Will he take that back to the department and discuss it?