MARTIN Lewis has helped to launch a campaign aimed at raising awareness for the millions of people excluded from coronavirus financial support.
The MoneySavingExpert.com founder delivered petitions alongside campaign groups ExcludedUK and ForgottenLtd calling on the government to help those who’ve fallen through the cracks.
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MPs, including Caroline Lucas from the ExcludedUK cross-party All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), were also in attendance.
It mainly affects those who started a new job this year, which means they weren’t on their company PAYE scheme by the government’s March 19 cut-off.
Because of this they can’t benefit from furlough, which sees 80 per cent of employees’ wages paid for by the government up to £2,500 a month.
What is furlough?
THE aim of the government’s job retention scheme is to save one million workers from becoming unemployed due to the lockdown.
Workers will be kept on the payroll rather than being laid off.
The government will pay the associated employer national insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on top, although employers will need to start contributing from August.
The scheme has been extended to run until the end of September and can be backdated to March 1 2020.
It’s available to all employees that started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before March 19, 2020, although it closed to new entrants in June.
Previous rules meant that staff shouldn’t undertake any work for their employers while on furlough.
But from July 1, staff members are allowed to go back part-time and they must be paid in full for the hours that they work.
There are also holes in the SEISS, which we’ve highlighted here at The Sun. Namely it excludes limited company directors, those who earn over £50,000, and those who started their business recently and haven’t submitted a tax return for the 2018/19 financial year.
Excluded estimates at least 3million people are missing out, while a petition calling for help for company directors alone has reached almost 350,000 signatures.
Mr Lewis said: “Many are without help, including those who’ve changed jobs, started a business in the last 18 months, are on freelance PAYE, are limited company directors, work for agencies, are shielding, or just had employers who didn’t care.”
He added: “Many of the unsupported millions are financially desperate, with huge knock-on impacts on their mental health. The chancellor must ensure the state helps those excluded get back on their feet, just as he’s done for others.”
Excluded founder Sonali Joshi said: “There is no rationale or fair justification for these exclusions and the Treasury’s repeated assertions that everyone has been or can be helped in some way is simply not the case.”
The Treasury says people who don’t qualify for furlough or SEISS can apply for Universal Credit, although this only available to those who have under £16,000 in savings.
Coronavirus help for the self-employed
HERE’S a round-up of the main coronavirus government schemes for the self-employed:
A Treasury spokesperson said: “We have introduced a generous and wide-ranging package of support to help as many people as possible whose income has been affected during this time.
“Those who do not qualify will be able to access a range of other support – including income tax deferrals, access to a range of grants and loans, and three-month mortgage holidays.”
But the furlough scheme will be shaken-up with employers having to contribute towards wages from next month.
And there are concerns, including from Mr Lewis, that employers will start making hundreds of thousands of people redundant if they can’t afford payments.