Backing those currently excluded from COVID-19 support

The aims of a campaign lobbying for those so far entirely or largely excluded from government COVID-19 financial support measures have been backed by Iain Gray MSP.

Launched last month, ExcludedUK represents a broad spectrum of individuals and businesses, all sharing one common thread – they have been excluded from COVID-19 support. The campaign is aiming to help enable the changes that are needed for those currently missing out to receive the support they need.

There are a variety of categories of people who have not received government support during the crisis, with the total affected estimated to be as high as 3 million across the UK. These include the newly self-employed, self-employed with +50k trading profits, PAYE freelancers, new starters, those denied furlough, Directors paid PAYE annually or paid in dividends and those ineligible for Business Grants.

Mr Gray has been contacted by several East Lothian residents who are in one of these categories. He has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes to urge her to raise the matter with her UK counterpart, and to explore what further support the Scottish Government can offer those who have so far been excluded.

Earlier this week the UK Parliament’s cross-party Treasury Committee published a unanimously-agreed interim report as part of its inquiry into the Economic Impact of Coronavirus called Gaps in Support.

The Chair of the Committee said that it has identified well over a million people who – through no fault of their own – have lost livelihoods while being locked down and locked out of the main support programmes. The report makes several recommendations to help those who have fallen through the gaps.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“Coronavirus has had a dramatic impact on nearly every sector of the economy. While governments across the UK moved quickly to put support measures in place to help businesses and individuals hit by the pandemic, it has become increasingly clear that many people are still falling through the gaps and receiving no support at all.

“Earlier this week, the UK Parliament’s Treasury Committee confirmed that at least one million of those newly in employment, various kinds of self-employment and freelancers are currently left out of income support schemes.

“I’ve heard harrowing stories from constituents who have been unable to access the support they need to keep their businesses going or simply support their families and pay their bills. This cannot continue, and the UK and Scottish Governments have to listen to campaigners and take steps to support those who are currently missing out.”

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