Last week, the Chancellor announced a lot of new spending and schemes as we enter the next stage of the Coronavirus outbreak and lockdown starts to ease up. Many of these were welcome measures that will help businesses get back on their feet. These of course replace or add to various other schemes that have been in place for the last few months like furlough and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
Whilst I am very glad that the Government has provided support to so many during this crisis, there are still many who have received no support whatsoever. In fact, there’s around 3 million of them.
These people have organised into a group called Excluded UK which represents a wide range of people who – for one reason or another – have slipped through the net. This includes the newly self-employed, PAYE freelancers, new starters, those who’ve been denied furlough and the self-employed with more than £50,000 in trading profits.
The impact of not being eligible for support schemes can be massive. People’s livelihoods are at stake, and some will lose their houses or the businesses that they have spent years building.
I’ve come across many excluded constituents who have got in touch with my office about the issues that they’re facing as a result of not being able to access support and this is far from unique to my constituency. In fact, MPs from across the country have set up the Excluded UK All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to discuss these issues and how to persuade the Government to extend support to these 3 million people.
Almost a third of MPs – including me – have joined this group, and we come from all of the different political parties. I think it is particularly helpful to have Conservative MPs involved in the group, as these are the people who Government Ministers are most likely to listen to.
Many of those affected feel not just excluded, but forgotten and neglected too. They want to know that the Government is thinking about them and how they can get the support that they need. Through the APPG and other means, I’ll make sure I play my part in standing up for the Excluded in Parliament. If you’re one of these people, I’d highly recommend looking up Excluded UK – they’re not just a great campaign group, but also a support network that provides advice and an opportunity to talk things through.