Last night, campaign organisation ExcludedUK released an open letter, ahead of the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spring Budget announcement tomorrow – 3 March.
Our General Secretary Horace Trubridge signed the letter, along with over 3,000 other signatories.
We are writing to you from ExcludedUK with collective support from a wide range of organisations and many individuals with regard to gaps in the government Covid-19 support schemes affecting some 3 million UK taxpayers. Please see a copy of this letter with the full list of signatories attached including 79 MPs.
While many have received vital support since the onset of the pandemic, so many others have been left behind. The 3 million figure, now so often referred to, comes from HMRC data and BEIS Business Population Estimates and has been confirmed by figures released by the National Audit Office. It is not just the 1.5 million self-employed that you have previously referred to. Standard Life Foundation’s latest survey estimated that as many as 3.8 million are in fact affected.
The impacts are far-reaching and only set to become more acute, with ever-increasing financial hardship each month passes and spiralling debt that has already devastated people’s livelihoods and businesses and will continue to do so for years to come without the support so vitally needed. These impacts equally extend to households - children and families, and for small business owners, their employees, freelancers and contractors too if their own businesses are in peril.
This is a substantial section of the workforce and they need support to get through this crisis - people who were furthering their careers by starting a new job, those in between jobs, those who for whatever reason were denied furlough, those who took the plunge to set up a new business, those with entrepreneurial spirit serving their communities and beyond, freelancers, those combining PAYE and self-employment, those whole maternity or parental leave fell at a certain time, people excluded due to pensions, bereavement payments, carer’s allowance, redundancy, shielding and more.
These are people who are the lifeblood of our economy and communities, many who have been taxpayers for years and not previously had to rely on the State, and businesses that are viable. Moreover, people are facing this crisis amid so much uncertainty that still lies ahead, particularly for those in the hardest hit sectors.
Various proposals have been presented to the Treasury that are not complex and that do guard against fraud. We urge you to consider these and include measures in the upcoming Budget that will provide the much-needed financial support for those who find themselves outside of the scope of the eligibility criteria of the existing schemes. Not helping these people is equally at odds with economic recovery.
Providing this support now is the right and fair thing to do.