MP welcomes furlough extension but makes plea for self-employed

Steve Brine welcomed an announcement to extend the furlough scheme for workers hit by the Covid-19 pandemic but called on the Chancellor to ensure self-employed people receive the same.

Addressing the House of Commons, Rishi Sunak on his 40th birthday, said the coronavirus job retention scheme would be extended until the end of October but with increased flexibility to allow for part-time furloughing and increased company contributions to ease the burden on the taxpayer.

Mr Brine said; "When he announced the original furlough scheme, many of us in this House and outside in the country talked about the self-employed and asked for parity. He then acted but, notwithstanding the issues that he knows I have with the people left out of the self-employment support scheme, that scheme will come to an end very shortly. To return to the call for parity, can we assume that he is working on an extension to the self-employed income support scheme? Many people will be listening carefully to what he says about that today."

Mr Sunak in response said; "My hon. Friend has spoken passionately about this issue before, and I look forward to continuing conversations with him. I am of course keeping those ​measures under review. As I said at the time, there is of course parity in the level of support, but the nature of the schemes is different in the sense that employers who have been closed and have to make employment decisions, potentially 45 days in advance in respect of redundancies, do need to be treated slightly differently in that regard. I will of course continue to keep all things, including that scheme, under review."

The SEISS (self-employment income support scheme) is due to end on 31st May 2020.

More information ...

Watch above Steve's exchange with the Chancellor (SBTV)

Read the short-debate on the economy via Hansard