I made the case that Statutory Sick Pay should be paid by government upfront, rather than asking businesses to claim back.

The system must also be clearer about what is available for self-employed people who don’t qualify for the new ESA payment.

Stephen Kinnock: On this point about statutory sick pay, there are two additional points on which the Government really do need to act. One is that this should be done in advance, up front, rather than making businesses reclaim, which is putting massive pressure on them. The other is that it is vital for the self- employed. Businesses in my Aberavon constituency are really under the cosh and they need both of these measures to be included in the rethink on statutory sick pay.

Stephen Timms: My hon. Friend makes a couple of very important points. I very much agree with him on the first, but on the second, my understanding is that self-employed people in this position can apply for this new employment and support allowance if they meet the contribution conditions, which, of course, some will not. That is where universal credit needs to be changed. One of those routes is likely to be a solution for them, rather than statutory sick pay, because that depends on there being an employer in place.

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