Covid-19: Millions going without income support helps 'Gaps in Support' become largest APPG
A new group of MPs and Lords set up to support PSC directors and other people excluded from official covid-19 income support schemes is claiming to be the largest APPG in history.
The Gaps In Support All Party Parliamentary Group, which is accepting evidence from such individuals, said its 261 MP-members cover all political parties, in all parts of the UK
“Please try and take a minute to…specify in detail how you have been left out and what the consequences are,” Forgotten Ltd, one of the APPG’s supporters said of the group’s call for evidence.
Chaired by Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone, the GIS APPG said the evidence submitted to it will be reviewed and potentially followed up on, to help it “find solutions” for the excluded.
Specifically identifying ‘directors of small limited companies’ as one of 10 parties who it wants evidence from, the group indicated that Rishi Sunak missed an open goal last month.
“[Our] officers believe the chancellor’s announcement on October 22nd continues to let excluded and left-behind groups down”, the APPG tweeted.
“[Because] those [individuals] who were not eligible for the initial schemes, are still not eligible for support.”
The tweet refers to Mr Sunak extending both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, but failing to change either’s eligibility criteria.
But yesterday, the chancellor came under fire again. Referring to Mr Sunak’s appearance as a guest on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show, Forgotten Ltd said:
“Rishi Sunak [ought to be called] out on his appalling answer. How are we letting the chancellor…get away with telling blatant lies?”
“He was allowed to lie and swerve the issue as he always does.”
The campaign group was taking issue with Mr Sunak explaining away the millions excluded as being people who do not have the majority of their income from self-employment.
Whereas in fact, having more than 50% of their income from self-employment is just a single of the numerous qualifying conditions on just one of the schemes which is being criticised for not applying to more unincorporated business soloists (the SEISS).
'Limited bounce back'
“There are important excluded groups among the self-employed,” Stephen Machin, director of the Centre for Economic Performance said on Thursday, in an Institute for Fiscal Studies webinar.
“This is because of the way that the income support has been designed. The self-employed were initially hit very hard by the onset of the [coronavirus] crisis, and they continue to be. Their bounce-back has been limited”.
As well as the newly self-employed; people whose freelance work represents less than half of their income and “Ltd” directors, the GIS APPG said it wanted to hear from PAYE freelancers, new starters who began work after the furlough scheme’s cut-off, and maternity/paternity leavers, among other individuals.