Small firms celebrate Universal Credit reform and call for further action

Responding to the announcement that the reinstatement of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) – which reduces Universal Credit support among self-employed claimants by assuming that they earn a consistent monthly wage with no regard for the fact that their incomes routinely fluctuate – which had been set to take effect later this month has now been pushed back to April, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry, said:

“It’s good to see the Government taking further action to support our embattled self-employed community. We wrote to Thérèse Coffey alongside the Trades Union Congress last week calling for a delay to the reintroduction of the unfair MIF and thankfully swift action has been taken. Delaying its reinstatement until April marks a much-needed step forward. It’s suspension should now be made permanent.  

“This hugely welcome intervention will help protect the welfare of business owners and freelancers who are not blessed with ready access to funding. Many need the flexibility facilitated by self-employment in order to continue making wider community contributions, not least where caring responsibilities are concerned.  

“With the unemployment rate continuing to rise, we have to encourage more of those who are out of work to consider the sole trader route – the self-employed community was fundamental to our recovery from the last recession.

“That starts with reforming the Universal Credit system so it reflects the realities of starting a new enterprise: profits can take years to generate and monthly incomes can fluctuate.

“Policymakers should also be looking at building on the success of the New Enterprise Allowance and Start-Up Loans programmes with the launch of a Kickstart Start-up initiative, modelled on the Kickstart employment scheme.”

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