Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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What the Petitions Committee is doing

Petition Pay self employed workers a wage due to lack of earnings caused by COVID-19.

For the government to have a debate and authorise a top up of wages for the self-employed during the coronavirus outbreak.

Regardless if they are infected or not, less people are travelling and going to work on a daily basis creating a loss of income.

More details

For example, if somebody would usually make £1kpw but only makes £400pw due to Covid-19 the government should arrange a cash payout. This will cover the extra £600 to help with the cost of living, household bills, mortgages and various other expenses required to sustain.

The self employed will struggle and could end up in debt due to the outbreak and loss of earnings, creating a deficit due to not being able to keep up with payments.

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100,000

Government responded

This response was given on 15 April 2020

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme was announced on 26 March 2020 to help those with lost trading profits due to COVID-19. It is one of the most generous self-employed schemes in the world.

Read the response in full

The Government recognises that many self-employed individuals have been concerned about support if their income drops temporarily due to COVID-19. Following earlier announcements on business support, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced further additional assistance for the self-employed on 26 March 2020.

The new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will allow eligible individuals to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months. This may be extended if needed. Self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, are eligible if they have submitted their Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, continued to trade and have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19. To qualify, their self-employed trading profits must be less than £50,000, with more than half of their income from self-employment. Some 95% of people who are mainly self-employed could benefit from this scheme.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will contact individuals if they believe they could be eligible and invite them to apply online using a simple form. HMRC are working on this urgently and expect people to be able to use the scheme no later than the beginning of June. Delivery of the SEISS is an enormous operational task for HMRC because it requires an entirely new system to be built and tested from scratch.

More information about the SEISS, including the eligibility criteria and how to claim, is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.

Anyone requiring support before the beginning of June should have access to other measures appropriate to their individual circumstances. For example, the self-employed benefit from the Government’s relaxation of the earnings rules (known as the Minimum Income Floor) in Universal Credit. The SEISS also supplements the significant support already announced for UK businesses, including 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 www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

The Government is offering bold, substantial and unprecedented support for the self-employed. It will do whatever it takes to get our country through the impacts of COVID-19.

HM Treasury

At 100,000 signatures...

At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

Other parliamentary business

MPs to debate Government spending on Covid-19 support for employees and the self-employed

On Tuesday 7 July MPs will debate the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and support for the self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
The debate should start at around 4pm, although the exact start time will depend on other business, and you can watch the debate live here: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/51b7cb07-c3d5-4e95-b272-4732c0e9f5b9

A transcript will be published the following day here: https://hansard.parliament.uk

The debate has been requested by the Chair of the Treasury Committee, which recently published a report on the economic impact of coronavirus, and gaps in support: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/1446/documents/13238/default/

This debate is being held as part of several Estimates Day debates, where MPs debate and agree the Government’s spending plans. You can find out more about Estimates Day debates and the subjects that are being debated here: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/202/backbench-business-committee/news/147093/backbench-business-committee-confirms-topics-for-estimates-day-debates/

MPs publish report on gaps in the Government's coronavirus support

A group of MPs called the Treasury Committee has published a report on the UK Government’s coronavirus support packages, following an inquiry into the economic impact of coronavirus. The report expresses concerns about support for different groups of people, including:

• Those newly in employment or newly self-employed
• Those self-employed with annual trading profits in excess of £50,000
• Directors of limited companies
• Freelancers and those on short-term contracts

The report says the Government needs to do something for these people if it is to completely fulfil its promise of protecting incomes and jobs, and sets out a number of actions it wants the Government to take to support the above groups. The Government has two months to respond to the Committee’s report.

You can read a summary of the report here: https://houseofcommons.shorthandstories.com/coronavirus-economic-impact-gaps-in-support-report

You can find out about the Committee’s inquiry into the economic impact of coronavirus here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/224/economic-impact-of-coronavirus

The Treasury Committee is a cross-party group of MPs and is independent of the Government. The Committee looks at and questions the Government about matters relating to the spending of public money and economic policy.

You can find out more about the Treasury Committee on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/158/treasury-committee

You can follow the Treasury Committee on Twitter: @CommonsTreasury

The Treasury Committee is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Petitions Committee questions Government on its response to coronavirus

Last week the Petitions Committee put some of the most popular questions from the public about coronavirus to the Government Minister for Schools, the Minister for Disabled People and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer. These included:

  • How long will schools be closed for and what will the impact be on exams and grades?
  • What financial support will be available for the self-employed?
  • What financial support will be offered to people who are unable to pay their rent or bills due to self-isolation or loss of work?
  • What support will be offered to the events, creative and hospitality industries now that pubs, clubs and cultural venues have been closed?
  • What clear, practical steps can people take to make sure they are following Government guidance on social distancing, household isolation and self-isolation?
  • Who is being tested and why, and will tests be made freely available to everyone?
  • What is the Government doing to ensure that everyone is getting the right information?

Watch the session on YouTube: https://youtu.be/aPLXJcZEfi8

Read the transcript: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/192/the-governments-response-to-coronavirus/publications/written-evidence/

Because of the large number of petitions that we continue to receive on coronavirus we have sent more questions to the Government to answer.

Read our letters to different Government Ministers: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/publications/3/correspondence/

Some of the questions we’ve asked include:

  • When will testing capacity will be increased; who will testing be available for and will it be free?
  • What is being done to tackle the spread of disinformation?
  • How quickly will support for self-employed people be made available?
  • What will happen to the school year? Will summer holidays be cancelled so that children can catch up?
  • How are foodbanks being supported to continue operating during the outbreak?
  • What is being done to address panic buying and prevent price hikes of key items?
  • Will trains, buses and flights continue to operate? For how long?

We’ll email you again to let you know when we get a response to these questions, and to let you know about any more action the Committee takes.

Who are we?

We are the House of Commons Petitions Committee. We are a cross-party group of MPs that looks at e-petitions submitted on petition.parliament.uk. We are independent from Government. You can find out more about us and our work on our website.

You can follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter: @HoCpetitions.

Further information

You can read impartial House of Commons Library information about coronavirus here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/

You can find out more about coronavirus and how you can protect yourself and others here:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

You can read NHS tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus here: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips

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