To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support his Department provides to people with a disability who are in receipt of benefits and who want to start their own business.
The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme is the main source of self-employment support for people on out of work benefits who are interested in becoming self-employed. It offers mentoring support to develop a business plan and financial support worth up to £1,274 once participants have started to trade (as a weekly allowance of £65 for the first 13 weeks and £33 for the subsequent 13 weeks). Since January 2015 we have widened eligibility to include all Employment Support Allowance (ESA) claimants and those claiming Income Support (IS) as sick.
NEA is open to all Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and ESA claimants and those claiming IS who are disabled, sick or lone parents. NEA is compatible with Work Choice programme eligibility; and once an NEA participant finishes the mentoring stage and starts their business, they may also be entitled to an Access to Work grant.
The NEA has proved a very successful programme to help claimants considering self employment, with nearly 70,000 business starts to date, 13,560 (20%) by people with a disability. Of these, 6,580 start ups have been in Scotland.