Covid-19: Minister declines to meet over lack of limited company support

David Davis tried but failed to get a meeting out of the government yesterday, amid growing concern that limited companies are falling through the government’s covid-19 ‘safety net.’

The veteran Tory MP told work and pensions minister Will Quince that 60% of the UK’s workforce – some 13million people employed via small companies – are “in trouble.”

Mr Davis backed up his claim with stats from Forgotten Ltd, which show that 70% of such tiny traders have received “no benefit whatsoever” since the pandemic hit the UK in March.

'Do something'

The former Brexit secretary then asked whether the government intends to “do something” to help such businesses, and whether the minister would meet him, face-to-face, to discuss it.

But Mr Quince, a former lawyer, initially seemed to sidestep the question by telling Mr Davis that it would be “better directed” at chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The minister then pointed out that self-employed people can be eligible for Universal Credit, which Forgotten Ltd stats show is not being received by 90% of people who run their own PSC.

'Almost for everyone'

“We do plan to proceed with the reinstatement of the minimum income floor,” Mr Quince added of Universal Credit. “And claimants will be contacted as …[it] is reinstated for them.”

He added: “And notwithstanding the point that…[Mr Davis] makes, over £13billion of support has already been provided for over 2.6million self-employed individuals through the first two stages of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and this scheme has now been extended.”

Earlier, and seeming to realise that limited company directors are not eligible for the SEISS, the minister said that in the wake of the coronavirus, the government had provided “a safety net for almost everyone who needs it.”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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