Today marks the start of a new lockdown across Scotland and England. This isn't easy for anybody and I know that for many, the restrictions - which are necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus - will present challenges.
As is the situation in many other countries, large numbers of people people will continue to receive support through the furlough scheme or self-employed scheme. I welcome this support where it is available.
Throughout the pandemic however, the Chancellor has ignored a group of around 3 million people who have fallen through the gaps in support. These people, know as the 'Excluded', have not been eligible for support due to the stringent eligibility criteria. Some of them had perhaps just started a new job and had not been on the payroll long enough. Others had taken the leap to start up a new business and did not have sufficient trading history to qualify for support.
For almost a year now, the Excluded have been forgotten about and, worse still, ignored by the UK Government. The represenative organisation, Excluded UK, has made numerous requests to discuss the situation with the Chancellor which have gone unanswered.
Today, I have once again written to the Chancellor to highlight this gross unfairness and to call for immediate action.
If you have been excluded from Government workforce support and wish to know more, visit Excluded UK for further information.
Read my letter to the Chancellor below:
The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1 Horse Guards Road
Tuesday 5th January 2021
As Scotland and England enter another lockdown today, I am writing to you to make an urgent and renewed call for financial support for the 3 million people who have been unable to access coronavirus support measures.
Many people, through no fault of their own, have fallen through the gaps in support criteria and eligibility. The newly employed and newly self-employed are among the millions who have been struggling and pushed into real and devastating hardship over the past months. These people, known as the ‘Excluded’, have been forgotten and ignored by the Treasury throughout the pandemic and deserve help now more than ever as we enter the tightest of restrictions.
I welcome the additional financial support for businesses announced today, but this cannot and should not be used to distract from the failure to support the Excluded. Many of these 3 million people are at breaking point and you have in in your power to help them.
I ask that you urgently engage with Excluded UK, the campaigning organisation which has been leading on this issue, and immediately bring forward proposals to support those who have been left out in the cold.
David Linden MP