MP COLUMN: People are falling through Covid-19 safety net
About a quarter of MPs from different parties have united to defend people who are falling through the government’s Covid safety net.
A new cross-party group says that three million UK taxpayers have been entirely or largely excluded from financial support through no fault of their own.
This includes the newly self-employed, those who are less than 50 per cent self-employed, PAYE freelancers, those denied furlough, and some small limited company directors.
We are talking about beauticians, dog groomers, charity workers, construction workers, nurses, teachers, arts professionals, lawyers, dentists, and more
The suddenness of the crisis means that government support schemes don’t yet interlock and have caused needless disparities.
Many have paid tax for years, sometimes decades, and when they most needed help, the safety net wasn’t there.
Most are now on less than 20 per cent of their pre-Covid income. They feel abandoned, face spiralling debts, and their mental health is suffering.
The impact goes beyond the three million excluded to affect their families and, for small business owners, their employees, freelancers, and sub-contractors.
These individuals and businesses can’t just bounce back and the longer-term impacts of exclusion will become more acute for them and for all of us who value their enterprise and services.
These issues have also been addressed by the Treasury Select Committee and ministers must reply in detail and quickly. Solutions should also be backdated.
MPs of all parties are rightly urging justice for three million excluded people. I hope ministers will listen and act.
Mary Glindon, North Tyneside MP