Yesterday, the Work and Pesnions Committee published its report into Self Employment and the Gig Economy. ERSA’s Head of Policy, Sam Windett, had provided oral evidence to the inquiry, and a range of ERSA’s key reccommendations around reducing the impact of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor for self-employed jobseekers, as well as investing in specialist employment support were adopted by the committee. Commenting on the report, Sam Windett said: 

“The report highlights a critical need to rebalance the support received by the self-employed.  Self-employment – separate to the gig economy – can be an invaluable route into the labour market for jobseekers who require flexibility (for example, carers or people with fluctuating health conditions). Currently, the government’s flagship Universal Credit (UC) scheme means that many jobseekers who want to start their own businesses are falling at the first hurdle.

“UC’s punitive measures, such as the Minimum Income Floor, are endangering the survival of many new businesses. The cliff edge faced by self-employed people means that potentially viable businesses are being prematurely forced to close. These individuals can go on to sustain, grow their businesses and contribute to the economy. The next government must urgently address this.

“The report also identifies a potentially significant shortfall in the provision of specialist support for jobseekers seeking to start their own business. Proper investment in high quality specialist employment support can be transformative for individuals, businesses and communities – the next government must harness, not hamper, this creativity.”