Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Petition Provide COVID19 income support for the newly self-employed, without HMRC records

I request COVID19 income support from the government, for the recently self employed with no HMRC records. On provision of legitimate proof of income. This hard working group should not be penalised for a career in its infancy.

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People who are recently self employed with no previous self employment tax return are being neglected by the government. Whilst the government 'puts its arms around' 99% of the rest of the population. This hard working group should not be penalised for a career in its infancy.

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Government responded

This response was given on 28 May 2020

The recently self-employed can access a range of financial support. However, to protect against fraud, only those with tax records for 2018-19 qualify for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Read the response in full

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) helps those adversely affected by COVID-19. It means the UK has one of the most generous self-employed COVID-19 support schemes in the world.

As the Chancellor highlighted when announcing the SEISS, to ensure that the scheme is deliverable, only those who are already in self-employment and had a tax return for 2018-19 are able to apply. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to include those who began trading after the 2018-19 tax year in the SEISS.

This was a very difficult decision and it was taken for practical reasons. Unlike for employees, the income of self-employed people is not reported monthly, but at the end of each tax year on the individual’s Income Tax Self Assessment return. This means that the most reliable and up-to-date record of self-employed income is from the 2018-19 tax returns. 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. Unfortunately, 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.

HMRC designed the SEISS using information already in hand, in order to make it deliverable quickly and to minimise the risk of fraud. Expanding the scope would have required HMRC to collect and verify new information. This would have taken longer to deliver and put at risk the other schemes which the Government committed to delivering as quickly as possible.

Ineligibility for the SEISS does not mean there is no other support available. The SEISS is part of a comprehensive package of support for self-employed people, including Bounce Back loans, income tax deferrals, rental support, increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays and the various business support introduced to protect businesses during this time. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

HM Treasury

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Other parliamentary business

MPs investigate the economic impact of coronavirus

A group of MPs called the Treasury Committee is investigating the economic impact of coronavirus, including looking at support for businesses, employees and self-employed people.

The Committee launched the first stage of its inquiry on 18 March to look at the speed, effectiveness and reach of the Government’s and Bank of England’s immediate financial response to coronavirus.

During this stage, the Committee pushed the Government on the lack of support for the self-employed, on lenders requesting personal guarantees on business interruption loans, and on the issue of large firms struggling to get support, including in order to retain their employees.

On 24 April the Committee launched the next stage of its inquiry, in which it will examine the effectiveness, cost and sustainability of the Government’s and Bank of England’s support packages. The Committee will also examine the impact on the economy and different sectors, the implications for public finances, and how the Government can work towards a sustained recovery.

You can find out about the inquiry, including how to submit your views and details of meetings the Committee is holding, 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

Has coronavirus affected your business in Wales?

A group of MPs called the Welsh Affairs Committee is looking into the impact of coronavirus on the Welsh economy, and would like to hear your views.

If your business in Wales has been affected by coronavirus, complete this survey to tell the Welsh Affairs Committee how the coronavirus outbreak has affected you: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=nt3mHDeziEC-Xo277ASzSsdf6aRbb_hHi61kcnJ3-KJUNEpKUVQ3ODkxU0tTQUdVV05ZMFhYRFozRy4u

The survey should only take 10 minutes to complete, and closes at 5pm on 15 May.

The Welsh Affairs Committee is a cross-party group of MPs and is independent of the Government. The Committee looks at and questions the Government about matters that have an impact on Wales.

You can find out more about the Welsh Affairs Committee on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/162/welsh-affairs-committee/

You can follow the Welsh Affairs Committee on Twitter: @CommonsWelshAff

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

Further Information

You may also be interested to know that because of the large number of petitions that have been started in relation to coronavirus, the Petitions Committee has been questioning the Government about its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Find out more and watch the Committee put questions suggested by petitioners to Government Ministers and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/145767/committee-question-deputy-chief-medical-officer-and-ministers-on-coronavirus-response/

Read letters from the Committee asking further questions of Government Ministers: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/192/the-governments-response-to-coronavirus/publications/

Visit our website to find news and information on other activity in relation to coronavirus and other issues: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

You can read impartial analysis of the Government response to coronavirus and policy developments here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/

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