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Universal Credit evaluation ignores flaws for self-employed
by Susie Hughes at 12:44 08/06/18 (News on Business)
An evaluation of Universal Credit (UC) by the Government completely ignores concerns that UC is failing the self-employed, according to a freelancer group.
The UC Full Business Case omits several concerns raised by self-employment bodies and Parliament's Works and Pensions Committee, that Universal Credit punishes the self-employed by not allowing for monthly variations in income when calculating benefits.

Evidence before a Works and Pensions Committee this year suggests that self-employed people are up to £3,000 worse off than employees on a similar income because of the monthly calculations.

The Business Case – a document that supports the appraisal and evaluation of a Government project – was recently released by the Government following a statement to the Commons by Esther McVey MP, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

However, freelancer and self-employed group, IPSE,

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Andy Chamberlain, IPSE Deputy Director of Policy, said: “The Government used the business case evaluation process as an opportunity to announce a number of positive changes to Universal Credit, but not the way it applies to the self-employed.

“It’s concerning that an important Government evaluation of Universal Credit would fail to acknowledge one of the system’s biggest flaws.

“IPSE has been calling on the Government to make changes to the way Universal Credit is calculated for the self-employed for some time.

“Monthly income reporting requirements punish the self-employed because they fail to account for the variable nature of income. Self-starters, who are trying to establish and grow their small business, are therefore missing out on benefits which they may otherwise get if they were an employee.

“Why should a farmer who sells or produces crops only at a particular time of year, be penalised?

“The system of monthly reporting must be relaxed to ensure the self-employed – who have helped keep unemployment at record lows – receive the support they need."

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