Thursday 23 July 2020 12:01 am

Rishi Sunak 'turns his back on' 1m in need of coronavirus support

Save our SMEs

MPs today blasted chancellor Rishi Sunak’s coronavirus support measures, saying he has turned his back on 1m Brits during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Treasury Select Committee (TSC) today said Sunak’s response has failed to convince members he had done enough to support Brits impacted by coronavirus.

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“The chancellor has effectively drawn a line under helping the million-plus people who have been excluded from support for four months,” said Treasury Select Committee (TSC) chair Mel Stride.

“Despite stating that he will not pick winners and losers when it comes to sectors and businesses that need support, the chancellor has done this when it comes to households and individuals.”

The report said that support measures such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) have failed to ensure all Brits were able to escape financial hardship.

“Rolling out financial support at pace and scale has inevitably resulted in some hard edges in policy design and some critical gaps in provision,” it said.

In particular, it criticised the lack of provision for those in self-employment who paid themselves through dividends, those locked out of a new job due to excessive paperwork, or freelancers and those on short-term contracts.

Sunak said in his response that it was impossible to support everyone during the coronavirus pandemic. He said each issue presented new challenges such as the possibility of fraudulent claims.

He added that those who were ineligible for the CJRS and SEISS schemes should instead take advantage of the government’s increase in welfare funding, such as universal credit and working tax credits.

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“The chancellor initially told those at risk of losing their livelihoods that they would not be forgotten,” said Stride.

“While the government is clear that it is moving on to the next phase of its recovery plan, it cannot just turn its back on those who are suffering.

“The committee urges the government to rethink its position.”