Questions Remain on Income Support for the Self Employed

Ruth Maguire MSP has called for the Scottish Government to continue to pressure the UK Treasury for improved coverage of income support for self employed people who have lost income due to the pandemic.

Speaking at Portfolio Questions, Ruth Maguire addressed the gap in support being offered to people who recently became self employed prior to the pandemic and asked the Finance Secretary to press the issue with the UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak.

The SNP MSP for Cunninghame South said: “There are still questions about the poor targeting of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme and the fact that it offers no relief for people who’ve become self employed more recently.

“Can the Cabinet Secretary lay out the impact of this on the self employed in Scotland and will she continue to push the Chancellor to improve the scheme?”

Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes said: “Due to the continued gap in eligibility for the UK-wide scheme, there is an increasing number of self employed people who have had no support since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The Scottish Government has tried to step in where we can, for example, with the Newly Self Employed Grant. I will continue to ask the Chancellor to review the requirements and the eligibility requirements to open up support to self employed people who have so far been unfairly excluded.”

Providing further comment, Ms Maguire said: “I’m grateful to hear that the issue of inadequate income support for the recently self employed is being pursued by the Finance Secretary.

“Self employed people are a major contributor to Scotland’s economy and while the support offered by the Scottish Government to address the gap in provision is welcome, the disparity of support available in the UK-wide support scheme must be addressed.

“Those people who are self employed who have not had support since the beginning of the pandemic must not be allowed to face increased financial anxiety due to circumstances outwith their control.”

Ruth’s question to the Finance Secretary can be viewed in full below:

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