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14 January, 2021 Open access

Bill introduced in Parliament to address the gaps in the government’s financial support measures introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic

Shadow Minister highlights that millions of excluded citizens that reached out for help have found that that they have been 'left by the wayside'

A Bill designed to address the gaps in the government's financial support measures introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has received its first reading in Parliament

Introducing the Covid-19 Financial Assistance (Gaps in Support) Bill in the Commons yesterday, Shadow Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Minister Tracey Brabbin MP said that the Bill aims to support those who have been excluded or fallen through the gaps of meaningful support during the pandemic -

'There are millions of citizens reaching out for help only to find that, just by the nature of how their tax is calculated, they are now left by the wayside: the zero-hours worker in the events industry, who cannot get furloughed and is now on universal credit and in debt; the pay-as-you-earn freelancer working in television, who pays tax at source, whose work has now dried up due to the lockdown and whose last employer will not furlough them; the entrepreneurs who took the jump and excitedly became self-employed recently, only to find themselves ineligible for the self-employed income support scheme, and innovators and businesspeople, now desperate and afraid for the future. All those people form the excluded.'

As a result, the Bill contains measures to require the government to undertake an assessment of any gaps in financial support provided to individuals, businesses and industries over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, and to require it to report to Parliament on the steps it intends to take in connection with any such gaps.

The Bill will be read a second time on Friday 29 January 2021.

NB - introducing the Bill, the Shadow Minister said that, to assist the Treasury Benches, she would offer some suggestions that might 'guide their thinking', including -

For more information, see Motion for leave to bring in a Bill: Covid-19 Financial Assistance (Gaps in Support) from Hansard.