As businesses face ever increasing peril with the effects of the rapid spread of Omicron and new restrictions, ExcludedUK adds to the calls from the IMF, CBI and the business community for support through what is for many the most crucial time of the year. Moreover, for individuals excluded entirely or largely from the government Covid-19 support schemes, this holiday period will for many be a grim second Christmas facing increasing hardship, spiralling debt and an ever-growing mental health crisis.
The estimated 3.8 million individuals and businesses excluded from the CJRS and SEISS schemes have already faced 18 months without adequate and fair support and the current situation only exacerbates the far-reaching impacts felt by those affected further. During the pandemic, so many have been struggling to survive without meaningful financial support caused by the unfair and unjust hard criteria to the schemes that shut out over 10% of the workforce from the support they needed to get through this difficult time. Despite, all ExcludedUK’s efforts since it formed in May 2020, alongside many other campaign groups, high-profile individuals and the business community, these calls for fair and adequate support have been to no avail.
ExcludedUK has been inundated with testimonies from individuals and businesses who were excluded from support and who have been trying to get back and their feet and hoping to claw back some losses this month, yet face cancellation after cancellation across sectors – events, retail, creative industries, hospitality, beauty, travel; cancelled classes, empty shops, market stalls, dog walkers, kennels and catteries, sports and alternative therapists among many others all unable to trade.
Whilst further support has been ruled out, we urge the Treasury in the strongest terms to rethink and heed our calls and those of the wider business community to provide the help that is so vitally needed in the face of the current situation we now face, all the more so for those who have not been supported through no fault of their own thus far. These are hard-working members of society and small businesses that are at the heart of our communities and indeed the backbone of our economy.
The overriding issue for those who were already excluded is that nothing takes away from the fact that all those affected were denied adequate support throughout the pandemic for which the ramifications are immense with often forced life-changing consequences: severe financial hardship’ mounting personal and business debt, decimated incomes; depleted savings; impacts on children, families and households; for businesses knock-on effects on employees, freelancers and supply chains; disruption to people’s careers; disproportionate effects on younger and older workers, new parents and parents of young children; forced changes to living arrangements, even selling homes and belongings; all alongside a deepening mental health crisis These impacts will stay with people for a long time to come.
ExcludedUK recently launched its Boost! grant to help individuals struggling the most get back on their feet and to provide assistance where we can through the donations we receive, in the absence of the support that was needed during the pandemic and the disparities in the support schemes, leaving so many out in the cold.
Without action from the Government to address this situation, affected individuals, their families and businesses continue to face increasing hardship day by day, and many businesses face a bleak future, if any future at all, going into 2022.
Sonali Joshi, Co-Founder – Director of Policy & Communications
Case studies available on request
Notes to editors:
- ExcludedUK is a grassroots volunteer-run not-for-profit organisation established in response to the financial challenges faced by individuals and businesses entirely or largely excluded from government Covid-19 financial support.
- ExcludedUK estimates that upto 3.8 million have been excluded from meaningful government Covid-19 financial support. National Audit Office estimated 2.9 million were excluded from the schemes. Standard Life Foundation also estimated 3.8 million were affected.