Martin Lewis joins campaigners calling on Treasury to help 3m excluded from coronavirus support
MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis today joined campaigners and a cross-party group of MPs to present petitions to the Treasury in support of the three million people excluded from Government financial support during the coronavirus pandemic.
Though Government furlough payments and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme offer help to many, some groups – including those who became self-employed in the past 18 months, limited company directors and freelance workers on PAYE – have struggled to find financial support.
And today Martin joined campaigners – including MPs Jamie Stone and Caroline Lucas, the co-chairs of the ExcludedUK all-party parliamentary group, and co-founder of the ForgottenLtd campaign group Gina Broadhurst – at a socially-distanced event to present a series of petitions, with collectively more than 500,000 signatures calling for more help for those who've been excluded.
You can also see Martin speaking about the campaign here:
For more on what support is available, and what you can try if you're struggling, see our Coronavirus Employees' Help, Coronavirus Self-Employed & Small Limited Company Help and Coronavirus Universal Credit & Benefits guides.
Martin: 'The Chancellor must ensure the state helps those excluded get back on their feet'
"This isn't a party political issue. When the Chancellor's coronavirus financial support schemes launched, they were rightly lauded for protecting millions of people's jobs and incomes. I gave them an A grade, but said what'd really count is the help they'd give for those who'd fallen through the cracks in the understandable rush.
"Now those cracks are fissures. That A grade has degraded. Many are without help, including those who've changed jobs, started a business in the last 18 months, are on freelance PAYE, are limited company directors, work for agencies, are shielding, or just had employers who didn't care.
"And it's the practical even more than the principles that count. Many of the unsupported millions are financially desperate, with huge knock-on impacts to their mental health. The Chancellor must ensure the state helps those excluded get back on their feet, just as he's done for others."
What are the petitions calling for?
Four petitions were given to the Treasury today – though they weren't physically handed to officials due to coronavirus safety reasons. They were:
- A petition calling for small limited company directors to be eligible for Government support on 80% of earnings, which has almost 350,000 signatures at the time of writing.
- A petition on behalf of owner-managed businesses who own and operate under a limited company, which has over 87,000 signatures.
- A petition calling for PAYE freelancers to be eligible for support through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, which has over 11,000 signatures.
- A petition on behalf of workers who had recently started new jobs and therefore weren't eligible to be furloughed, which has over 75,000 signatures.
What do the campaigners say?
Gina Broadhurst, co-founder of the ForgottenLtd campaign, said: "There are two million #ForgottenLtd companies across the UK, employing approximately 7.5 million people. Since 23 March, most of us have had no work, no income and no Government support, and we're struggling to survive. Our research shows that nearly half of us do not think we will manage to get through the next few months without some Government help.
"The #ForgottenLtd small companies want to be here to help rebuild the UK economy. Everyone relies on small businesses. Millions of people depend on them for their jobs. Bigger businesses depend on them for their supplies. Customers depend on them for their services. We are all linked. So if small businesses are in trouble, we are all in trouble. It is not too late to save them."
ExcludedUK said: "Betrayed, devastated, desperate, soul-destroying, isolated, abandoned, let down, angry, discriminatory, broken, excluded – these are the collective sentiments of the three million individuals and businesses across the UK who, almost four months on, remain entirely or largely excluded from UK Government Covid-19 support, and are testament to the devastation caused by these exclusions, putting livelihoods and businesses at stake, with many on the brink.
"Whilst we appreciate the importance of the discussions about opening up the economy and the future economic recovery, those excluded have had no meaningful support for almost four months, and with little to no income during this time, loaded with debt, and amid so much uncertainty in the coming weeks and months, those excluded cannot look forward to the future with any hope."