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Last week I called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help the 3 million workers excluded from the UK Government’s Covid-19 support schemes, joining forces with MPs from across the House of Commons in a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer following Mr Sunak’s claim not to recognise the 3 million people who have had no meaningful support from the Government during the pandemic.

In the letter to the Tory Chancellor the Gaps in Support All-Party Parliamentary Group stated:

“These taxpayers have been frozen out of their legitimate support, through no fault of their own and in their time of greatest need, when their Government should be supporting them.

“The self-employed and small business sector make up 99.3 per cent of the business population. They are the life blood of the economy and should be the engine of our recovery. We ask you to acknowledge them, accept that their difficulties are real, and offer the support to which they are fully entitled.”

These people have been denied support unfairly, despite being taxpayers, because of inadequate support scheme rules. For Rishi Sunak now to deny their very existence is not just unbelievable – it’s irresponsible.

I and many of my SNP colleagues have repeatedly called on the Tory Government to right this wrong and provide these 3 million hard working people with the support they desperately need. The Gaps in Support Group has already provided them with a fully developed plan to support those who have been excluded from support so far.

It’s time for the Chancellor to sort the mess that he has created and fix the gaps in support which have left 3 million self-employed, freelance and limited company directors with nothing. The Scottish Government is doing what it can to help, but the powers to make a real difference in ensuring no-one is left behind in this pandemic lie with Westminster, and it is high time the UK Government took its responsibilities seriously.

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