Sheffield’s Excluded community still struggling one year on

A Sheffield community is reflecting on the effects of still being excluded from financial Covid-19 support from the Government, one year on.

By Lisa Wong
Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 9:27 am

ExcludedUK was founded one year ago, on May 14, 2020, in response to the financial challenges faced by individuals and businesses entirely or largely left out of the Government’s financial support schemes.

The not-for-profit organisation is run by volunteers and members of Sheffield’s Excluded community did not expect to still be in existence one year on.

On Friday, the national group laid an X-shaped wreath - in the shape and colours of the ExcludedUK logo - in remembrance of the 20 or so known individuals who have sadly taken their own lives as a result of the severe hardship inflicted on them.

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Today, on its first anniversary, members laid an X-shaped wreath - in the shape and colours of the ExcludedUK logo - in remembrance of those who have lost their lives.

For a large majority of the three million members who have been excluded, nothing has changed in a year.

Dave Moran is a singer and manager who was performing at weddings and events prior to the pandemic.

He was refused financial support due to his business - whom he runs with another partner - not having fixed premises.

Although he was wrongly advised that he would be eligible for furlough, he discovered he was able to receive some universal credit, but he was not able to get this backdated for the months he missed out on.

The wreath was placed outside the Treasury, whom ExcludedUK want to see rectify the injustice 'once and for all'.

Dave, who later became a van driver, said: “I'm now having to work 65 hours full time each week doing a job I absolutely detest, whilst simultaneously working on both of my businesses. I've been clocking up a good 100+ hours per week and most certainly well below living wage when averaged out.”

Although the musicians he works with have been eligible for Government support, Dave told how he has been “absolutely disgusted at the disparity between different businesses, sectors and the sheer lack of regard for the situations of companies like ours from politicians”.

Chris Wood is another of Sheffield’s excluded community, and one of many who missed out on financial support due to the 50/50 rule.

He had worked all his adult life up until the pandemic and was saving to buy his first home.

Chris has described the system as being “corrupt” and with his savings now depleted, it has left him at “rock bottom”.

He said: “I’ve sold all my tools and worldly possessions just to stay alive.”

Dave and Chris and just a couple of many in the South Yorkshire and Derbyshire regions who have been affected both financially and emotionally, due to lack of financial support from the Government.

ExcludedUK is sending an open letter signed by numerous MPs, leading figures including Gina Miller, unions and industry bodies, and many individuals, calling for the Treasury to rectify the injustice ‘once and for all’.

The letter follows the response received from The Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP, which has been deemed as unsatisfactory.

For more information, visit here.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, contact Samaritans any time on 116 123, email [email protected] or visit the website.