23 November 2020 18:34
The changes were made to reflect a similar extension of the furlough scheme, with the Chancellor confirming the following in early November: "So far we've provided £13.7 billion of support to self-employed people through the crisis - and I've always said we will continue to do everything we can to support livelihoods across the UK. "The rapidly changing health picture has meant we have had to act in order to protect people's lives and I know this is an incredibly worrying time for the self-employed. "That is why we have increased the generosity of the third grant, ensuring those who cannot trade or are facing decreased demand are able to get through the months ahead." As a result of the extension, support from the government will be paid out to eligible claimants in the form of two further grants. READ MORE: SEISS: Self-employed forced to use £20k of personal savings to survive Chancellor must meet with ExcludedUK to find humane route out of crisis - Greg Wright In a civilised society, nobody should fall through the cracks. Rishi Sunak During the pandemic, communities around Britain have rallied round to ensure the isolated and financially vulnerable are not left in a pit of despair.
Although the Chancellor Rishi Sunak's handling of the crisis has been widely praised, there is growing evidence that the support measures put in place by the Government are simply not working for every section of society. Sign up to our daily newsletter The i newsletter cut through the noise Sign up Thanks for signing up! Sorry, there seem to be some issues. Please try again later. Submitting... ExcludedUK is a grassroots organisation working towards bringing about an end to the exclusions in the Government's Covid-19 financial support measures across all employment statuses, circumstances and industries. According to the group, these exclusions have led to significant disparities within the support offered, resulting in unfairness and hardship. The agony faced by many of these people was highlighted when tearful workers begged ministers for help. Six people who are excluded from Government schemes to help with a loss of income spoke at an online event attended by the mayors of London, Liverpool and Manchester. The event heard jobs, homes, businesses, marriages and lives are "hanging in the balance", with a mental health pandemic predicted for people struggling to survive for eight months with no money. The mayors – Sadiq Khan, Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham – are lobbying Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help the "excluded" who are not eligible for financial help, estimated by the National Audit Office to total 2.9 million workers. Ex-teacher Paul Milham, a hypnotherapist, told the ExcludedUK event, that his business had been "on fire" until the pandemic killed it within two days and he is now being "bailed out" by his parents. He said: "I hate being here with my begging bowl, but we need some help. This is humiliating, it's degrading to be here in front of people with this story." Support measures including the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, along with benefits such as Universal Credit, have been introduced to help workers whose livelihoods have been impacted by restrictions. But the support does not cover some people, including the newly employed, the newly self-employed, freelancers, directors of limited companies paid in dividends, and the self-employed with annual profits of more than £50,000. Melody Schroeder, who worked to teach compassion and empathy skills in the NHS, police and Armed Forces, said her livelihood disappeared within days of the start of the March lockdown. Breaking down in tears, she said: "I worked so hard, I'm just really heartbroken, I feel beyond devastated." Lindsey Beagle, who ran a successful catering firm, has had to furlough staff and run up £70,000 of debt. She said: "Your mental health, you just start to think really, really dark things. When you work so hard for everything you've got and you employ people and you put so much back in, you do feel really disappointed." The Treasury has stated that its self employment income support scheme is one of the most generous in the world. The Government has increased the value of its third grant, ensuring those who cannot trade or are facing decreased demand receive 80% of their average trading profits from November to January. The spokesman added: "We've acknowledged that not everyone has been helped in the way they would have wanted, but overall the Government has provided a huge amount to help businesses and families through this crisis and the Self-Employment Income Support grant is just one part of our comprehensive package of support which also includes loans, tax deferrals, newly extended mortgage holidays and business support grants." The members of ExcludedUk are pillars of British society; hard-working taxpayers who believed the Government would support them in times of need. Without additional support, they face a catastrophic collapse in their mental health. At the very least, the Chancellor should meet with the group's leaders to find a humane route out of this crisis.