26 November 2020
ExcludedUK responds to the Chancellor’s assertion that he has spoken with ExcludedUK on Good Morning Britain today regarding those excluded from government Covid-19 financial support.
On Good Morning Britain today, when asked directly if the Chancellor would meet with ExcludedUK in order to understand the experiences of those excluded, the Chancellor stated:
“We’ve already spoken a lot to their team and we’ve been back and forth.”
ExcludedUK asserts that the Chancellor nor his representatives or anyone from the Treasury have ever engaged with or spoken to any member of the ExcludedUK team, despite repeated calls to do so, not least through the Gaps in Support All Party Parliamentary Group in a letter dated 21 July 2020.
This statement by the Chancellor is wholly untrue, and ExcludedUK continues to urge the Chancellor to meet with ExcludedUK and those affected by these exclusions, so he can hear first-hand that those excluded are not high earners, are honest taxpayers, often over decades, with entrepreneurial spirit who contribute so much to our communities and indeed to the economy. Many have faced harrowing and other personal circumstances unfairly affecting their eligibility such as bereavement, maternity or parental leave, redundancy, being single parents, the disabled, those shielding, as well as some of the extremely alarming consequences of being excluded - young people whose careers have been destroyed before they even embarked on them or started to make their way up the career ladder, older workers who cannot retrain, people wiping out their savings or pensions to simply try to get by, food poverty, decimated businesses, lives and livelihoods. We urge the Chancellor to listen to us and see and hear for himself that these individuals and businesses are viable and need urgent support.
Yesterday, ExcludedUK expressed its deep disappointment at the Chancellor’s continued refusal to acknowledge those entirely or largely excluded from government Covid-19 financial support and the increasing severe hardship they face, now 8 months on.
When questioned following his statement on the Spending Review yesterday, the Chancellor disputed the number of 3 million excluded, referring to 1.5 million whose self-employment is less than half of their income and could therefore benefit from the furlough scheme. He again stated this during this interview on Good Morning Britain today. This is categorically incorrect.
Those in receipt of widow’s pensions, army pensions or having dipped into their pensions early, those in receipt of bereavement payments or carer’s allowance, those made redundant and having received redundancy pay, those whose maternity or parental leave fell at a certain time, the newly self-employed, those earning above the £50,000 cap (whilst their counterparts in PAYE employment have been eligible for CJRS), those whose PAYE employment over the 3 year period taken into account was in the past so cannot ask a previous employer to furlough them, those with rental income – none of these self-employed individuals are the 1.5 million the Chancellor is referring to when he says they could have been furloughed from their PAYE employment and received Universal Credit. The Chancellor has also failed to address all others excluded across all other employment statuses – PAYE freelancers, small limited company directors, new starters, those in between jobs and those denied furlough.
The fact is the CJRS and SEISS schemes fell far short of providing adequate financial support for all who were in need, with no policy rationale or justification on Government’s part behind these exclusions, but rather arbitrary hard edges to the eligibility criteria.
We urge the Chancellor yet again to listen to those excluded once and for all and to rectify this injustice, and also to look at the readily available statistics from HMRC, ONS, BEIS and the most recent data released by the National Audit Office which will confirm the true number of those ineligible for support, and that what he states when referring to this 1.5 million figure is a mere fallacy.
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Notes to editors:
1. ExcludedUK is a grassroots volunteer-run not-for-profit organisation established in response to the financial challenges faced by individuals and businesses entirely or largely excluded from government Covid-19 financial support.
2. ExcludedUK's estimate of 3 million excluded from meaningful government Covid-19 financial support, has also been backed up by Martin Lewis (Money Saving Expert) and Standard Life Foundation which referred to 3 million households as being ‘unprotected’.