ExcludedUK calls upon Treasury to respond urgently prior to Christmas

News / Sun 20th Dec 2020 at 10:06am

EXCLUDEDUK calls upon Treasury to respond urgently prior to Christmas to provide COVID-19 financial support for those experiencing extreme hardship.

Following last week’s Westminster Hall debate on 9 December on ‘Support for people ineligible for Government Covid-19 support schemes’ and the meeting held with Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP, and the Gaps in Support APPG and campaign groups alongside ExcludedUK, a 3 stage approach towards finding a solution for those entirely or largely left out of the government Covid-19 support schemes has been proposed by ExcludedUK

However, the most immediate call is for an emergency grant to help those affected through the Christmas period – what will be for many such a critical time. Any such emergency payments can be made via the existing tax system and provide a lifeline for so many at this critical time.

A formal full proposal with details concerning taxation and HMRC being used as the mechanism for such a scheme will be submitted in January, in line with the Targeted Taxpayer’s Support Scheme proposed by the Gaps in Support APPG.

Most importantly, we urge the Treasury to recognise the severe financial hardship so many are facing across all facets of society and diverse sectors and release an urgent interim payment. ExcludedUK would like to impress the fact that these affected individuals (households and businesses) have been left without meaningful support since March 2020 and despite numerous extensions to the support schemes including opportunity at the recent Spending Review the Chancellor has still not taken the necessary steps to include them. It has also been announced today a further extension to the Job Retention Scheme (until end April 2021) which have further widened the gap between those in receipt of support and those who have been excluded and left without.

One of the founders of ExcludedUK, Sonali Joshi, said “3 million individuals and businesses have been excluded from meaningful government support, with little to no income for 9 months. This has resulted in severe hardship, mounting debt and a mental health crisis, and all across the UK households have been badly affected with people needing support urgently. We call on the Government to act now to support those who have not been helped during the pandemic through no fault of their own. This issue cannot continue unaddressed into 2021.”

You can read the outline of ExcludedUK’s 3 stage approach here: https://bit.ly/2WiDKoE

Stage 1: A one-off upfront urgent payment as we approach Christmas of £2,000 per person excluded from meaningful support
Based on ExcludedUK’s latest survey, rounding down average pre-Covid monthly income a figure of £2,000 is proposed. This will provide an immediate fix in the short term for those facing severe financial hardship.

Stage 2: A forward facing new monthly arrangement while tiers and restrictions remain in place in complete parity with the extension of the CJRS and SEISS schemes: 80% of pre-Covid income upto £2,500 per month maximum, removing arbitrary hard edges to eligibility criteria:
HMRC can be used for payments to reach people easily all within an existing system via tax code information alongside self-certification – a straightforward mechanism, able to avoid fraudulent claims and with a claw back system to operate as needed.

Stage 3: Commence discussions on backdating payments for a full and final settlement to deliver parity and fairness for those excluded from meaningful support
The overriding call from those affected is parity of support.

ExcludedUK also published a briefing paper on the broader context and impacts of the exclusions in the schemes that have affected an estimated 3 million people which you can find at this link: https://bit.ly/3mVoA4z.

ExcludedUK reasserts the urgency for discussions to commence in earnest and urges the Treasury to issue a response before Christmas.

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