HC Deb 16 December 1986 vol 107 cc1047-8
15. Mr. David Atkinson

asked the Paymaster General what new initiatives he plans to move obstacles to self-employment.

Mr. Trippier

We have taken a substantial number of measures to encourage self-employment, including those outlined in the White Paper "Building Businesses … not Barriers". We continue to keep the possibility of further improvements in this area under active review.

Mr. Atkinson

Is my hon. Friend aware of several difficulties which a number of self-employed people have been facing recently from the Inland Revenue because of the definition of self-employment which it has been imposing upon them, which has resulted in their having to return to employee status? Will he seek early discussions with his Treasury colleagues to produce a clearly defined criteria for self-employment so that everyone knows where he stands.

Mr. Trippier

The White Paper, "Building Businesses … not Barriers", dealt with the improved training of those who were employed at local offices of the Inland Revenue and the DHSS. It is important, as my hon. Friend is suggesting, that decisions on employment status are fully understood and consistently applied. At present we are looking at ways to clarify and simplify further the procedures for assessing employment status.