Skip to main content

To: Thérèse Coffey (Secretary of State for Work & Pensions)

Secure the Minimum Income Floor suspension on Universal Credit

1) Continue the suspension of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) on Universal Credit payments for the self-employed, due to expire on November 13th 2020.

2) Give essential stability to the self-employed by guaranteeing — in law — the suspension of the MIF until the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.

Why is this important?

In just under a month the suspension on the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for Universal Credit payments will end. [1]

This may seem like an insignificant fact but the suspension of the MIF has been the only lifeline for self-employed people like myself and 3 million others who fell through the gaps in the various coronavirus employment support packages [2].

What the reintroduction of MIF means is that any individual who earns less than £1,322 (after expenses) per calendar month will be considered unemployed even if they submit a tax return. They will be expected to be looking for work for 35 hours a week and to take any job that is offered even if it might clash with their pre-existing self-employment [3]. Their existing profession will not be considered viable.

My sector has been on standby on the instruction of the government in the interests of public health. My business is only temporarily interrupted because of the closures of venues which will eventually reopen, and yet I have not received a penny in Covid-related support from either furlough or the SEISS. Like many others like me, I have managed to survive on Universal Credit and/or through the generosity of friends.

With the reintroduction of the Minimum Income Floor, not only will I be forced to close my business, I will also not be able to afford to retrain in anything that I have the potential to succeed at. This will force self-employed artists like myself into precarious unskilled jobs, if available, and poverty. Productivity will drop and recovery of the arts sector post-pandemic will be delayed by a generation. It’s also a real slap in the face to artists who already make huge financial and personal sacrifices to be able to create joy and escapism for other people.

The arts are viable, and we’re important. For the last 8 month, we’ve been largely ignored by the government despite their assertions that they won't "leave anyone behind" [4]. The removal of the MIF will be the last straw.


[1] The Social Security (Coronavirus) Regulations | "Section 2 deals with MIF suspension. Section 10 deals with the expiry of this legisaltion which says "(2) Regulations 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9 cease to have effect at the end of the period of eight months beginning on 13th March 2020." |
[2] Calculation for the 3 million taxpayers excluded from UK Government Covid-19 financial support | ExcludedUK | "Self-employed excluded: 1.6 million, CJRS excluded – ltd company directors: 710,000, CJRS excluded – other employees: 790,000" |
[3] Universal Credit: Your Responsibilities |
[4] "You have not been forgotten. We will not leave you behind. We are all in this together." | Rishi Sunak (Chancellor of the Exchequer) |



2020-10-24 01:52:22 +0100

100 signatures reached

2020-10-18 10:39:40 +0100

50 signatures reached

2020-10-17 20:06:42 +0100

25 signatures reached

2020-10-17 17:49:44 +0100

10 signatures reached