Rishi Sunak fact-checks Andrew Marr using BBC’s own figures against him in fiery clash

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Rishi Sunak “took issue” with Andrew Marr’s facts in the middle of his interview, and used the BBC’s own evidence to prove his point. The Chancellor was being confronted over the three million people who have reportedly been excluded from his self-employment coronavirus support schemes. He explained why the number of people may not be as large as claimed.

Mr Sunak said: “Take a step back, I think our support for the self-employed has been more comprehensive and generous than almost any other country in the world.

“I probably would slightly take issue with the idea that three million people have been excluded, as you say.

“I think actually your BBC Reality Fact-Check thing looked at this.

“They found that the largest number of those people are actually people who are not majority self-employed, which means they make more money from employment rather than self-employment.”

Mr Marr cited the Institute for Fiscal Studies, who say that seven out of eight workers don’t qualify for the £500 payment for self-isolation.

The Chancellor shot back: “That’s something different but let’s just talk about the self-employment issue.

“Of the three million people, the majortiy of those who you said are excluded are not. It’s just that they’re not majority self-employed.

“The IFS, as you’ve said, thinks it should be targeted. That’s one way of targeting that support on those who predominantly make their earnings on self-employment. Of those there are around 1.5 million people who don’t make the majority of their income from employment.”

BBC Reality Check had written about the claim: “The three million figure, which was also referred to by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, appears to comes from a group called Excluded UK, which provides a breakdown of the figure.

“The biggest group they cite is the 1.175 million people who earn less than 50 percent of their income from self-employment and so are not eligible for the support provided for the self-employed.

“But it means that group receives at least half of their income from working as an employee, and that work would make some of them potentially eligible for support from government schemes such as the furlough scheme.”

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They added: “So while such people would not get as much of their income replaced as workers who are entirely employed or wholly self-employed, it is not right to say that they have been “completely excluded”.

The Government has a support scheme for self-employed workers who have been financially affected by the virus.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) allows those eligible to claim a taxable grant of a certain percentage of their average monthly trading profits.

The grant is paid out in a single instalment covering three months.

A third round of SEISS has been introduced due to the second national lockdown.

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