§ Mr. David Howell
asked the Paymaster General if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy towards self-employment, with specific reference to current Inland Revenue practice in relation to assessment for income tax and national insurance contributions.
§ Mr. Lee
The Government is committed to encouraging self-employment as an important source of enterprise and innovation, new business formation and jobs. I welcome the marked increase in the number of self-employed people, from just over 1.8 million in 1979 to more than 2.7 million now. More than 179,000 self-employed people have benefited from our enterprise allowance scheme.
Paragraph 6.12 of the White paper "Building Businesses … Not Barriers" (Cmnd. 9794) recorded progress being made by Inland Revenue and DHSS to improve tax and national insurance procedures for the self-employed. The Government remain committed to seeking further such improvements where these are possible.