Bradford East MP, Imran Hussain has today called on the Chancellor to ensure that business and employment support schemes during the Government’s third national lockdown are extended to cover those who were excluded from support last year.

Despite the Prime Minister last night taking the country into its third national lockdown, with restrictions on which businesses can open and where people can travel, along with closures for schools leaving many parents unable to work because of childcare responsibilities, the Government have set out no further measures to support jobs and businesses, forcing people to instead rely on existing schemes.

However, with many of these support schemes having stringent eligibility criteria such as strict cut-off dates, minimum income requirements and only applying to certain sectors of the economy, ignoring those in their supply chains in the process, these gaping holes in support have meant that vast swathes of workers and businesses have been excluded from existing support schemes.

Instead of being able to rely on support that has rightly been made available to many others, too many have been forced to rely on Universal Credit to survive financially as a result, putting further strain on an already inadequate system, and many businesses have been pushed to complete collapse.

With areas like Bradford with high levels of deprivation and greater health inequalities hit harder by the impact of Coronavirus and the Government’s response, Imran is also calling on the Chancellor to ensure that provided to local authorities reflects need and takes into account the disproportionate damage caused to Bradford’s residents and businesses which face greater challengers in bouncing back after the crisis.

Speaking on his call for greater support, Imran said:

“The Chancellor started the first lockdown by telling us that he would do ‘whatever it takes’ to protect people’s businesses and jobs, but over the following weeks and months, these good intentions quickly evaporated and many people were left abandoned and cut off without the support that they needed.

“As the Prime Minister takes us into a third national lockdown the Chancellor cannot just extend what’s already in place. Instead, he must provide certainty and ensure that those groups he excluded from support last year are properly protected in order to safeguard jobs, keep businesses afloat and defend livelihoods before it is too late.

“With areas such as Bradford which face high levels of deprivation and deeper health inequalities hit particularly hard by this crisis, the Government also needs to ensure that support is distributed fairly and takes into account the disproportionate impact of this pandemic and their actions to limit the long-term damage of further restrictions.”

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