9 October 2020
ExcludedUK responds to the Chancellor's statement on the “expansion” of the Job Support Scheme
ExcludedUK expresses its extreme disappointment at the statement made today by the Chancellor in relation to expanding the new job support scheme, given that support for the 3 million UK taxpayers who have been excluded from the government Covid-19 financial schemes still remains unresolved. Yet again, the Chancellor failed to even acknowledge this ongoing issue despite continued pressure from many different sectors.
While we acknowledge that it is important to support regions and specific industries that are being severely affected by ongoing restrictions, it continues to be the case that a huge number of individuals and small businesses (including a vast number of self-employed) have been unjustly excluded from any meaningful support since March 2020. This is an intolerable situation and these people continue to find themselves ignored and face significant financial hardship and debt through no fault of their own, while the associated mental health crisis continues to deepen with every day that passes.
The financial hardship endured for close to seven months by 3 million people is further compounded amidst the ongoing uncertainty that still lies ahead. Despite our repeated calls to meet with the Chancellor and for these voices to be heard by the Treasury, the Chancellor has not afforded us this opportunity. He promised to meet with Mel Stride MP to discuss the “Gaps in Support” but this has not yet happened, nor has he agreed to meet with the Chair and Committee of the “Gaps in Support” APPG (which has amassed the support of over 270 MPs cross party).
We reassert that the voices of the 3 million will not be silenced. ExcludedUK urges the Chancellor to heed these calls and to meet with those affected, to hear first-hand about the impacts these exclusions in the government support schemes have had on the 3 million who face ever increasing hardship.
The Chancellor described this expansion today as being a “safety net for staff and businesses” making particular reference to firms that may be forced to close down under upcoming guidelines. He also makes reference to “viable jobs” which is a further insult to those people and businesses that were perfectly viable back in March 2020 but are being deemed unviable by the Government. For excluded individuals and businesses, their viability has been brought into question precisely because of the lack of meaningful government support, having received little to no support since the onset of the pandemic.
This announcement today is a further indication that the Chancellor is choosing to focus upon larger businesses and organisations, with their employee base, rather than smaller businesses or the self-employed. He further acknowledges that this announcement comes “in advance of what may be a difficult winter”, failing to acknowledge that those within the ExcludedUK community have already suffered a very difficult Spring, Summer and Autumn and are now being pushed into further hardship as a result of this ongoing social injustice.
With 3 million people across the UK in diverse industries and sectors affected, this is completely at odds with the need for economic recovery, and is all the more reason why the Government must ensure the viability of jobs and businesses for the 10% of the UK workforce who have been excluded. Livelihoods, households and businesses are already on the brink and urgent redress is needed.
ExcludedUK is a volunteer-led grassroots non-profit organisation seeking to amplify the voices of the 3 million UK taxpayers excluded through no fault of their own, and is committed to continuing to work towards bringing an end to the unfairness, injustice and discrimination in the Government’s Covid-19 financial support measures.
Case studies can be provided on request