Elected councillor in 2016 for the Bishopston and Ashley Down ward, Eleanor Combley is also the leader of Bristol’s Green Councillor Group.More about Eleanor
Covid-19 has resulted in many individuals and businesses being unable to work as they would normally. The Chancellor said he would do “whatever it takes” to protect people and businesses from the financial consequences of the pandemic. But despite the packages of support that have been put into place, many individuals and small businesses have fallen through the cracks.
This week councillors of all parties on Bristol City Council passed a motion expressing solidarity with those excluded from the Government’s financial support schemes and asking the Government to close the gaps.
With the backing of this motion Green Group Leader, Eleanor Combley, wrote to the Chancellor to urge him to end the disparities in government Covid-19 support.
An open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, HM Treasury
The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP,
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1 Horse Guards Road
London SW1A 2HQ
15 January 2021
I write to you as Leader of the Green Group of councillors on Bristol City Council, with the full support of my group. I also write with the support of councillors of all parties on Bristol City Council who this week passed a motion expressing solidarity with the three million people across the UK excluded from the Government’s financial support schemes due to technicalities. The motion asks the Government to close the gaps in its financial support schemes and explore options to retroactively compensate people and businesses that were ineligible for the Government’s financial support.
I therefore call on you and your Government to end the disparities in government Covid-19 support packages that are currently excluding millions across the UK, putting livelihoods and businesses at risk.
Covid-19 and the ensuing lock-down has presented the most unforeseen challenges to individuals, communities and businesses the length and breadth of the UK. While government support packages have provided much needed support for many, gaping holes within these measures remain with an estimated 3 million finding themselves left out and left behind. Some examples of these are those who started a new job before 19 March but had not received their first payslip by that date, the newly self-employed and new businesses, the self-employed with either low or +£50k net profits, those in less than 50% self-employment, those on parental leave, those on PAYE freelance short-term contracts, low investment start-ups, small limited company owner-directors, businesses ineligible for grants, for example English language schools who were inexplicably excluded from the support given to tourism and leisure industry businesses, despite being affected in exactly the same way.
As a city, we in Bristol all want to play our role in helping the economy recover. However, in order to do so, we need support now for our individuals and our businesses to be able to emerge from this crisis ready to work and thrive again. I urgently call on the Government to address the disparities in support, to ensure that all individuals and businesses currently excluded, entirely or largely, from Covid-19 grants are given the support they need and rightfully deserve.
I support the calls of Excluded UK, who present a collective front supporting all those fighting for justice as a result of being excluded from government Covid-19 grants, and urge you to address these gaps and disparities as a matter of urgency so that all in the UK can move forward and build a post-Covid recovery together.
Cllr Eleanor Combley, Leader, Green Group, Bristol City Council
1. Bristol Full Council, Tuesday 12 th January, https://democracy.bristol.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=142&MId=8370&Ver=4