The government has rejected calls from MPs to extend the job retention scheme and amend criteria for the self-employed income support scheme.
The Treasury committee released an interim report last month calling for more help for those who have missed out on the coronavirus financial support packages.
The report urged the government to extend the cut-off date for the job retention scheme to 31 March or widening access by accepting alternative forms of evidence that can demonstrate an individual’s employment, such as a signed contract of employment.
However, chancellor Rishi Sunak said it was not possible to extend the job retention scheme cutoff from 19 March due to the “practical implications of monitoring such an extension.”
Sunak warned extending the cutoff could create fraud risks.
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The report also suggested the £50,000 profits cap for the self-employment income support scheme should be increased and that limited company directors should be able to use dividend payments as part of the eligibility criteria.
Sunak responded that the £50,000 cap covers most self-employed people.
He said including self-employed company directors who mainly take dividends as wages in eligibility criteria would be too complex.
“Unlike announced support schemes, which use information HMRC already holds, it would require owner-managers to make a claim and submit information that HMRC could not efficiently or consistently verify to ensure payments were made to eligible companies for eligible activity,” he said.
“This is because, under current reporting mechanisms, it is not possible for HMRC to distinguish between dividends derived from an individual’s own company and dividends from other sources.
“Nor is it possible to distinguish between dividends in lieu of employment income and as returns from other corporate activity.”
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People may have to consider various debt solutions as government support tapers off, such as individual voluntary arrangements and debt management plans.