Hundreds and thousands of self-employed could lose Universal Credit payments

(2 minutes to read)

IPSE: ‘Even before the pandemic, the Minimum Income Floor was an unfair impediment to struggling self-employed people’.

With the Minimum Income Floor for Universal Credit coming into effect next month, the IPSE is warning that this will result in hundreds and thousands of self-employed missing out.

Calling it a ‘crucial lifeline’ for the self-employed, IPSE research revealed a 341% increase in the number of contractors claiming Universal Credit during the pandemic – from 46,700 to over 206,000.

However, with the Minimum Income Floor now being reintroduced, this puts the self-employed at even more of a disadvantage.

Fred Hicks, Senior Policy and Communications Adviser at IPSE, explained, “Even before the pandemic, the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) was an unfair impediment to struggling self-employed people: it failed to account for their naturally fluctuating incomes and therefore barred many from Universal Credit.”

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Hicks added, “During the pandemic, government rightly suspended the MIF and our research showed this led to a 341 per cent increase in the number of self-employed people who could access Universal Credit. Indeed, for many of the million self-employed people who are still excluded from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), Universal Credit has been the only support open to them.

“The self-employed sector has been devastated by the financial impact of the pandemic and for struggling freelancers, this damage won’t disappear as soon as the economy opens up. Therefore, we are urging government to keep the Minimum Income Floor in place – not only as a support for self-employed people who are still struggling, but also as a way to rebalance the UC system and make it work for self-employed people in the long-term.”

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