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Gloucestershire Business News

Self-employed helped by suspension of income floor for benefits

Small businesses have welcomed the further suspension of the Minimum Income Floor for self-employed Universal Credit claimants.

The suspension, which was introduced in March and was due to finish in April, will now end in April.

It means self-employed people who have fluctuating earnings will continue to receive financial support from Universal Credit based on their current income, providing additional protection for those hit by the affects of Covid 19.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said: "We have always been clear easements would be reviewed as public health guidance and the national working environment changes.

"Extending the Minimum Income Floor suspension ensures these workers have security from the welfare safety net throughout the winter."

The Federation of Small Businesses and the Trades Union Congress has lobbied for a delay on the reintroduction of what it calls an "unfair" measure.

National chairman Mike Cherry said "Its suspension should now be made permanent.

"This hugely welcome intervention will help protect the welfare of business owners and freelancers who are not blessed with ready access to funding.

"Many need the flexibility facilitated by self-employment in order to continue making wider community contributions, not least where caring responsibilities are concerned."

He continued: "With the unemployment rate continuing to rise, we have to encourage more of those who are out of work to consider the sole trader route - the self-employed community was fundamental to our recovery from the last recession.

"That starts with reforming the Universal Credit system so it reflects the realities of starting a new enterprise: profits can take years to generate and monthly incomes can fluctuate.

"Policymakers should also be looking at building on the success of the New Enterprise Allowance and Start-Up Loans programmes with the launch of a Kickstart Start-up initiative, modelled on the Kickstart employment scheme."

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