26 March 2020: the political importance of a support package for the self-employed was on full display today in Parliament, as MPs from across the Chamber took the opportunity to raise the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions at lunchtime.
The topic was also a key theme during today’s session of the Work and Pensions Committee. During questioning by MPs on the Committee, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Thérèse Coffey confirmed that the Chancellor and the wider Treasury were hard at work putting together a series of measures to help self-employed workers. She stressed that there were challenges to be overcome that didn’t exist when HM Treasury developed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for workers on PAYE – a point also made by the Prime Minister in his responses to MPs.
However, Coffey did confirm that an overriding priority was making sure that this support package could be delivered quickly, and so her department was working coordinating closely with both HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
ICAEW Chief Executive Michael Izza observed that the session showed how “getting support in place for the self-employed is a daunting task for the government, spanning business, taxation and welfare – but it is urgently needed”.
To help support the government in overcoming some of the technical challenges around the support package for the self-employed, ICAEW’s technical colleagues are working closely with HM Treasury and HMRC around the practical details of any measures to be implemented.
ICAEW continues to press the government to prioritise the implementation of support for the self-employed. At the latest coronavirus briefing from the government, the Prime Minister stated that an announcement on measures for the self-employed will be made at the press conference on Thursday 26 March by the Chancellor. To keep up to date with the latest news and analysis visit ICAEW’s dedicated Coronavirus Hub, and sign up for ICAEW Insights’ Daily newsletters.