Today (10 May) the House of Commons work and pensions select committee published a report on Universal Credit for the self-employed.
Community submitted evidence to the committee in October 2017, and today the union welcomed the fact that all of its recommendations were accepted, and are referenced at numerous stages throughout the report.
Les Bayliss, National Officer at Community, said:
“Self-employment is vastly growing and soon to overtake the size of the public sector. Yet little attention has been given by the government to how Universal Credit will impact on the self-employed.
“Our self-employed members have made it clear that Universal Credit simply doesn’t work for them, and research findings by the RSA show 18.8% of the self-employed are in receipt of tax credits, versus just 10.6% of employees.
“That’s why we have consistently called for the government to listen to the concerns of the self-employed and reform Universal Credit to make it work for people starting and running their own business.
“We’re extremely pleased that MPs accepted all of our recommendations in their report, including extending the current one year Start-up Period to up to three years, and to allow reporting periods of up to one year for claimants who receive irregular monthly pay.
“We hope the government takes these recommendations on board, and conducts a full review of the specific impact of Universal Credit on the self-employed to ensure it works fairly for all.
“It’s vital that the voices of the self-employed are heard in these policy debates, so we will continue to speak up for our self-employed members.”
Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
“The DWP should give people longer to get going, and not punish them for the income volatility that is in the nature of self-employment.
“This would give a boost to the entrepreneurship that is so vital in a dynamic economy.”