In July of this year I wrote about the situation faced by some 3 million Company Directors, the newly employed, self-employed, those recently returned the workplace and many others who were not eligible for any furlough, SEISS (self-employed income support scheme), grants or universal credit. At the time most had gone 112 days without any financial aid. Instead they were offered loans and debt (something also open to those who are receiving support).
Despite promises by the government that they ‘would do whatever it takes’ the treasury has refused to speak or engage with those left to fend for themselves. Campaigns spearheaded by ExcludedUK have caught the attention of MPs, business leaders and those in the public eye but so far despite amassing a great deal of support, the government have continued to ignore the plight of millions.
We are rapidly approaching 250 days and the situation for many is beyond desperate.
Why is the government not helping?
This is the precisely what people are trying to understand. Initially it was ‘too complicated’ , then we were told the scheme would be open to ‘abuse and fraud’. Since then there has been flat denial of the numbers left out or indeed any acceptance from the government that they haven’t done enough. Conversely, and somewhat perversely, there have been numerous iterations of job retention schemes and grants that have been a bonus for those who have suffered no loss of work or financial hardship since March. Some businesses have thrived since the first lockdown whilst also being the beneficiary of grants and funding they didn’t need. Fairness is often an invalid construct but this goes far and beyond a simple balancing act of some getting a little more than others – for the excluded it’s a simple case of all or nothing.
The reality of this colossal mistake by government is that not only could/ should they have devised a plan to support those left out (8 months of the finest brains in government could have worked out what many did in a few short days), but the current schemes are rife with fraud and tens of billions have been falsely paid out or indeed syphoned offshore by shell companies.
There are no excuses and as a result, notwithstanding the obvious impact on jobs and people’s finances, we are now seeing some feeling they have nowhere to turn and are sadly taking their own lives. This is unspeakably sad.
So what next?
Regions and countries in the UK are already going into some form of lockdown and it is only a matter of time before the whole nation does again - the outlook is bleak. After 8 months of no support the ExcludedUK are already losing homes, businesses, possessions and their lives and it is clear this is only going to get a worse. Each passing day brings another bill to pay or meal to skip and yet it could so easily be put right if the government decided to act. It seems however that the more the failings and shortfall in the support are highlighted to the Chancellor, the more indignant and irritated he becomes.
Are we seeing the result of those promoted to positions of responsibility without the necessary training or understanding, or is this some sort of vendetta against 3 million people who; have done nothing but run their own businesses in accordance with the rules; started a new job on the wrong date; didn’t file a return well before a deadline; took another part-time job to provide for their families; took time off to care for children or loved ones; earned a penny over an arbitrary annual sum? They are not the thieves and bandits they are often portrayed as. They are like all of us, and let’s not forget, on-top of the financial burdens and woes they like the rest of society are having to get through a pandemic that is curbing their liberties and freedoms as much as anybody else’s. We are also being told to prepare for Brexit in January 2021 – many more businesses simply won’t last that long.
Something must be done.
To lend your support or find out more (with plenty of facts and figures I have omitted) visit https://www.excludeduk.org/excluded-uk-an-inclusive-alliance-for-the-excluded