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Penny and Phil Davis have worked hard to get their businesses going. They work out of the same clinic in Cheshire. Phil set up as a sole trader four years ago, doing permanent make-up and medical tattooing. This year, he managed to turn a profit. Skin therapist Penny is director of her own limited company, and had grown confident enough to take on staff. Then, the pandemic hit.

Being forced to stop work in March was a huge blow. As leaseholder on the business premises Phil did receive a £10,000 local authority grant. That has gone on rent and other costs. As a sole trader, Phil also applied for the government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), hoping that would tide him over. But losses incurred in two previous years due to set-up costs, meant he could not receive any money. Now, he feels it's necessary to fold his business and seek employment instead.

"Coming to terms with the fact has been incredibly difficult," he says. "It will break my heart to have to walk away but there is no sense in paying to keep a business open with all of the associated costs, whilst accumulating eye watering debts. Five months without earning any income and there's no date on the horizon."

As a limited company director, Penny was not eligible for SEISS. Her only option was to furlough herself and her staff. "But because most of my income comes from dividends not my salary, I personally only receive just over £500 per month through this," she says. Despite taking out a bounceback loan out of desperation, she says: "I'm considering closing. I won't rule out getting a job, for example, in a supermarket."

Some self-employed people in other industries are also being forced into a change in direction. Ben Delfont has 25 years' experience as a freelance stage manager working on plays, musicals and events, including the London 2012 Olympics opening and closing ceremonies. When the production he was due to work on was postponed, he lost a year's work contract. "The impact on people in the industry is really sad", he says. He did receive a SEISS grant and picked up bits of work from friends.

However, his income was still so much lower than it would have been in normal times, it barely covered his costs. With no idea when live events would start again, Ben decided to seek employment elsewhere. "I successfully applied for a job as a Waitrose delivery driver. A lot of theatre people are working in supermarkets now. It's not forever, unless I discover I have a passion for it!" The Professional Lighting and Sound Association trade body says 70% of staff working on live events are freelance or self-employed, and fears the industry will end up depleted of skilled people.

Read the full story here: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-53691540

ExcludedUK is a newly formed non-profit NGO and serves as a collective platform for those entirely or largely excluded from the UK Government's Covid-19 financial support measures. We are a rapidly growing organisation and an inclusive community, representing a broad spectrum of individuals and businesses, but all sharing one common thread: we are excluded.

As an organisation we will play a crucial role in facilitating support and assistance on multiple levels, both for now and into the future.Our aim is to build a stronger platform, raise awareness, lobby for support, raise funds for legal challenges and help enable the changes that are needed for those excluded.Most importantly, our hope is that our efforts can help propel affected individuals and businesses forward in the face of adversity resulting from Covid-19 and being excluded from Government support, while equally ensuring we are all able to help each other emerge from this crisis.

Excluded Newsroom

Written by Excluded Newsroom

Excluded UK is a new organisation launched to help those individuals and businesses who have found themselves excluded from the UK Government's Covid-19 financial support schemes.