SNP URGE UK GOV TO PREVENT ANOTHER FINANCIAL HIT FOR THE SELF EMPLOYED

The SNP’s Shadow Business Secretary has called on the UK government to immediately announce an extension the suspension of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) within Universal Credit beyond 13th November to prevent another financial blow for self-employed people during the coronavirus crisis and give them the certainty they desperately need.

Drew Hendry MP has written to the Minister for Business and Industry, Alok Sharma MP, urging him to take this step to enable self-employed individuals to continue to receive Universal Credit based on their actual earnings – which has been a lifeline for many since being introduced in March.

Even before the pandemic and the severe impact it has had on household incomes, the Institute of Fiscal Studies estimated that 450,000 low-income households had their payments slashed by an average of £3,200 a year because of the Minimum Income Floor assessment policy.

Commenting, Drew Hendry MP said;

“If these plans go ahead on 13th November, the effect on self-employed small business owners and their families will be devastating. The UK government must confirm they will extend the MIF without delay to provide security and certainty for these people.

“The Universal Credit system was not designed to take account for the variations in self-employed workers incomes so could never properly support them. The current crisis has increased demand for that safety net exponentially – that is why the changes announced in March were a lifeline for many.

“It is inconceivable that amid a pandemic and lockdown measures, the Tory government take this lifeline away and leave self-employed people struggling to make even a partial wage assessed for Universal Credit with the assumption that they earn a National Minimum Wage for a 35-hour week. Already depleted incomes will be cut again and will hit seasonal workers and low-income households the hardest.

“I am urging Alok Sharma to stand with small business owners and rethink these plans. The suspension of the Minimum Income Floor is as necessary now as it was then. Self- employed workers need more support, not less during this unprecedented emergency.”
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