Thank you for contacting me about financial support for sex workers during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Any sex workers that meet the eligibility criteria are eligible for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, provided that they have submitted a 2018-2019 Income Tax Self-Assessment and continued to trade in the tax year 2019-2020.
However, I am aware that many will not have access to this scheme. I welcome steps taken by the Government to increase the Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit basic element by £1,000 per year for the next 12 months and make accessing these measures easier during the pandemic.
The SWARM collective have created information and guidance on maintaining safe practices and how to access financial support for sex workers.
The Government is committed to protecting those selling sex from harm and enabling the police to target those who exploit vulnerable people involved in sex work. It is also very important to ensure those who want to leave prostitution are given every opportunity to find routes out, and I support the Home Office on this stance. I am aware that there are different approaches to prostitution around the world, including New Zealand and in Scandinavia, as well as recent legislative developments in Northern Ireland. However, I understand the Home Office has not yet seen unequivocal evidence that any one approach is better at tackling harm and exploitation.