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Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Treasury written question – answered on 20th May 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Conservative, Wimbledon

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will (a) expand the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to include or (b) provide a bespoke support scheme for people who began self-employment in the 2019-20 tax year.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

It has not been possible to include those who began trading after the 2018-19 tax year in the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). This was a very difficult decision and it was taken for practical reasons.

The Government recognises that those who started trading more recently will not have submitted a tax return for the 2018-19 tax year, and it considered alternative approaches. HMRC would not be able to distinguish genuine self-employed individuals who started trading in 2019-20 from fake applications by fraudulent operators and organised criminal gangs seeking to exploit the SEISS.

However, the self-employed can also benefit from the Government’s relaxation of the earnings rules (known as the Minimum Income Floor) in Universal Credit. They may also have access to a range of grants and loans depending on their circumstances. These include the Bounce Back Loan Scheme for small businesses, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the deferral of tax payments. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

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