Provide COVID19 income support for the newly self-employed, without HMRC records

I request COVID19 income support from the government, for the recently self employed with no HMRC records. On provision of legitimate proof of income. This hard working group should not be penalised for a career in its infancy.

17,759 Signatures

Status: Open
Opened: 3 Apr 2020, 12:47 p.m.
Daily signature rate : 135
Estimated Final Signatures: 25,745

Daily Rank: #444 • Weekly Rank: #404 • Total Rank: #103

People who are recently self employed with no previous self employment tax return are being neglected by the government. Whilst the government 'puts its arms around' 99% of the rest of the population. This hard working group should not be penalised for a career in its infancy.

Government Response

The recently self-employed can access a range of financial support. However, to protect against fraud, only those with tax records for 2018-19 qualify for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) helps those adversely affected by COVID-19. It means the UK has one of the most generous self-employed COVID-19 support schemes in the world.

As the Chancellor highlighted when announcing the SEISS, to ensure that the scheme is deliverable, only those who are already in self-employment and had a tax return for 2018-19 are able to apply. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to include those who began trading after the 2018-19 tax year in the SEISS.

This was a very difficult decision and it was taken for practical reasons. Unlike for employees, the income of self-employed people is not reported monthly, but at the end of each tax year on the individual’s Income Tax Self Assessment return. This means that the most reliable and up-to-date record of self-employed income is from the 2018-19 tax returns. The Government recognises that those who started trading more recently will not have submitted a tax return for the 2018-19 tax year, and it considered alternative approaches. Unfortunately, HMRC would not be able to distinguish genuine self-employed individuals who started trading in 2019-20 from fake applications by fraudulent operators and organised criminal gangs seeking to exploit the SEISS.

HMRC designed the SEISS using information already in hand, in order to make it deliverable quickly and to minimise the risk of fraud. Expanding the scope would have required HMRC to collect and verify new information. This would have taken longer to deliver and put at risk the other schemes which the Government committed to delivering as quickly as possible.

Ineligibility for the SEISS does not mean there is no other support available. The SEISS is part of a comprehensive package of support for self-employed people, including Bounce Back loans, income tax deferrals, rental support, increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays and the various business support introduced to protect businesses during this time. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at

HM Treasury

Top 10 Constituency Signatories to the Petition

Constituency Signatures % of Total Signatures MP Party-Constituency
195 1.10% Stephen Timms Labour
East Ham
168 0.95% Ms Lyn Brown Labour
West Ham
138 0.78% Tim Farron Liberal Democrat
Westmorland and Lonsdale
126 0.71% Sam Tarry Labour
Ilford South
124 0.70% Dame Margaret Hodge Labour
118 0.66% Stella Creasy Labour (Co-op)
113 0.64% Stephen Farry Alliance
North Down
113 0.64% Mr Shailesh Vara Conservative
North West Cambridgeshire
108 0.61% John Cryer Labour
Leyton and Wanstead
103 0.58% Francie Molloy Sinn Féin
Mid Ulster
View All Constituency Signatures

Top 50 Constituencies by Number of Signatures

4,180 signatures - 24.0% of total

Responsive image