Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat MP, Christine Jardine is calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to provide support for the three million people who are currently getting no financial support from the Government’s support scheme.
The chancellor, Rushi Sunak is scheduled to present a Summer Statement to this house today (Wednesday) updating MPs on support for the country’s recovery from the economic impact of Covid-19.
Ms Jardine, who attended the inaugural meeting of ExcludedUK, the All Party Parliamentary Group set up to support those not receiving help from any Government scheme, said this was an opportunity for Mr Sunak to show that the government is listening, not just to the more than 100 MPs who attended the meeting but to voices from across the country.
The current support package provides self-employed people who have been adversely affected by Covid-19 with a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years but excludes around three million people, including owner-managers paying themselves through dividends, new starters and contact workers.
Ms Jardine, has contacted UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak to ask for an expansion of the current scheme to include those who are currently excluded and the Liberal Democrats have launched a petition pushing for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to be extended to the those not receiving any support.
Christine Jardine MP said:
“It’s completely inexcusable that the UK Government has done nothing to help these 3 million people who have been left to with no support.
“The fact that the Government continues to refuse to extend the support scheme purely on the basis that it is too complicated is unacceptable. We are talking about peoples’ livelihoods and financial well being.
“There are few issues that are as pressing to this country right now, which is clear from the record high number of MPs from across the political spectrum who joined the first meeting of ExcludedUK.
“In some industries, such as television and theatre, short-term PAYE contracts lasting just weeks or months are the norm, often combined additionally with some self-employed work.
“The impact of the virus for many freelance workers has meant that they have either been released from their contracts or have not had them renewed as would ordinarily have happened.
“These people are out of their minds with worry, but to make matters worse, many do not qualify for Universal Credit because of the way tax returns work.
“Whilst some of our self-employed constituents might have the option to return to work over the coming months, this is not the case for many.
“It is high time that the UK Government finally started to listen and act as many of my constituents in Edinburgh West, and across the country, face the prospect of months without work and zero support.”