My name is Stephen Liddell and since 2013 I have run a small company called Ye Olde England Tours which employs 9 people on a freelance basis, happily all entitled to support
I have 2 degrees, speak numerous languages and have guided for many prestigious organisations, people and even the previous government! One of my tours is rated Trip Advisors number 1 Secret London experience and my new book became an Amazon travel #1 best seller. I have written a dozen books for what it's worth.
The government effectively banned inbound tourism and I have had no work since February. I have been declared ineligible for support as my income was marginally above £50k this being because I voluntarily paid more taxes than I legally had to, to help the NHS (rather than just clap for it) and be a good citizen.
I have also been Shielding and have no family, living on my own. I had one of my common chest infections in August/September requiring antibiotics and we aren't even in winter yet.
At the beginning of August I was on SkyNews and world wide on various media due to the government's treatment of me making me depressed and suicidal. Going months without seeing anyone and facing a bleak future financially.
I have been reliant on food banks and donations from strangers from around the world, touched by my plight including from third world nations and even British Ambassadors! I've also received clothing and shoes as mine is broken, torn and my shoes have been making my feet bleed.
I subsequently appeared on BBC Radio several times and received over 4,000 messages of support and also people saying I was a role model and even and saved their lives by doing so. No-one from the government would answer media approaches nor did they contact me to offer any help whatsoever.
I have never been more than a few pennies out in my taxes and always I overpaid as I am careful. I just moved house after 7 years of saving up in March and the house needs renovating (even now the roof leaks) so I am unable to claim Universal Credit). I paid my taxes for 2019-20 in May as I am a good person. Yet I have received zero help and support, absolutely nothing.
I've worked every day since September 2013 without a day off, even Christmas Days. I spend Christmas week after tours giving out my own food and clothes to the homeless and even inviting them to stay in my home. Last year alone I assisted police with 3 arrests as individual WPC's struggled with male suspects. In the spring I gave £300 of the last money in my current account to give to my guide whose wife died from covid for her funeral and other costs.
I wake up at 5am and am bored by 7am. I wait all morning to eat until midday and then by 12.20pm I just wait to bed. I spend all day waiting to die and contemplating my lack of future which your government has inflicted on me.
I have been a high rate taxpayer and never claimed for anything, I don't have children. My company has been certified just 3 weeks ago as being sustainable and ethical by Green Tourism and I entirely survive off foreign visitors and am a huge importer of foreign earnings!
I don't even feel British any more. I've been let down and cheated and left for dead for 8 months as the government ignores me and everyone else largely debates about people suffering on greatly reduced levels than the 3 million #ExcludedUK. How would you feel? How much more vulnerable do I have to be having chronic asthma, no family, no income? I was robbed in February and also separately pushed under a tube train, I was sexually attacked last Halloween and at the previous Poppy Sunday saved a lady and her baby from being attacked after giving a reading at the local memorial.
I can't believe the government treats me as a fraud when I am such a net benefit. Quite frankly I don't care about the virus at all, my life is so abidingly awful and miserable.
I thought I like the other 3 million #ExcludedUK were the backbone of the economy, now the Conservatives discriminate against me and treat me little better than Nazis did minorities in the 1930's. Soon I will be sewing a patch on my clothes I am sure. I have voted for your party many times before but never will again, presuming I am still alive at the next election.
It's hard to see how anyone can be more viable than myself or my little company. Being Excluded has made me hate myself, my life and my country which I have proudly shown to the world for 7 years. Words can't say quite how you've ruined my life. If I get Covid it will be a relief quite honestly. I don't blame any of this on the virus, just the government.
I have no work booked until May and even that is dependent on the government opening up to tourism. How can anyone survive 15 months with no pay or support? I want you to know that you have played a part in my suffering and torment.
I am writing to every MP so there is no excuse that decision makers don't know my plight or that everyone has been able to access help as it is not true.
I already have a national newspaper waiting to print my story should I not make it through to the other side but I want you to know that you have played a part in my suffering and wonder if you think I deserve any part of it?
Ye Olde England Tours.
If you have been affected, and you feel you are struggling emotionally and mentally, please visit www.excludeduk.org/mental-health or call the Samaritans who offer a 24 hour listening service on 116 123.
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. 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.