Self-employed: Coronavirus

Treasury written question – answered on 4th December 2020.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support (a) taxi drivers who have recently purchased a zero-emissions-capable taxi and offset the cost against their earnings using capital allowances and (b) other self-employed people not eligible for the self-employed income support scheme.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the economic effect of the covid-19 outbreak on drivers who have leased a zero-emissions-capable taxi; and what steps he plans to take to support those people.

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

This is a challenging time for many sectors and individuals, including taxi drivers. In response to the second national lockdown, the Chancellor announced that the next Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant, which covers the period from November to January, will increase to 80% of average profits, up to £7,500.

The SEISS continues to be just one element of a substantial package of support for the self-employed, and those ineligible for the SEISS Grant Extension may still be eligible for other elements of the support available. The Universal Credit standard allowance has been temporarily increased for 2020-21 and the Minimum Income Floor relaxed for the duration of the crisis, so that where self-employed claimants' earnings have fallen significantly, their Universal Credit award will have increased to reflect their lower earnings. They may also have access to other elements of the package, including Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, mortgage holidays, self-isolation support payments and other business support grants.

More widely, the Government uses the tax system to encourage the uptake of vehicles with low carbon dioxide emissions to help meet the UK’s legally binding climate change targets. Since April 2019, purpose built zero-emission capable taxis have been exempted from the Vehicle Excise Duty expensive car supplement. At Budget 2020, the Government also announced that First Year Allowances on purchases of zero-emission business cars, including zero-emission taxis, will remain available until at least March 2025. Businesses hiring zero-emission cars also retain the ability to set 100% of rental costs against taxable profits.

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