Somerton & frome MP speaks up for “excluded”

Yesterday parliament held a debate on the level of Covid-19: Government Support. Somerton & Frome MP, David Warburton used the opportunity to highlight those who had missed out. Looking forward to July 19, Mr Warburton told the debate: “Those who managed to keep the show on the road ought to be back in business very soon. But there will be challenging months ahead. We should now look carefully at those who have had to struggle without support for the past 15 months.”

We went on to be specific about those who have missed out on government support. “The different types of ineligibility are numerous and complex. We have the newly self-employed, anyone earning over £50,000 and those drawing their salaries as a dividend. This is a common one in the music sector where I have been trying to get more support. There are those with mixed income and those on zero-hour contracts such as peripatetic music teachers. This is not academic or theoretical. It is tangible and real. I know my right hon. Friend the Minister is more than sympathetic to it. The impact means businesses going bust and mounting personal debt. There is a particular impact on younger and older workers, new parents, parents of young children and their families. I will not go into the detail of specific cases or numbers. I am sure we will hear more about that and we can argue or dispute numbers. However, we are talking about millions of people.

In finishing Mr Warburton argued for more help “I hope, as we climb out of the abyss of the pandemic, we have the perspective to take a breath,. To look closer at overcoming the technical assessment difficulties, which I fully appreciate, and fish more people out of the pond with a net that is slightly more tightly meshed.

Unfortunately, the words largely fell on stony ground. Jesse Norman, the Minister in question had lost of warm words. He had no proposals to put on the table to actually help any of those whose plight Mr Warburton had highlighted. Telling MPs how many people have been helped and by how much is missing the point. All Mr Warburton had pointed out was how many people had not been helped and that their need was no less real.

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