3 million taxpayers have been entirely or largely excluded from government Covid-19 financial support. What can we do about it?
This is something I’ve been wanting to write about here for some time. I have been talking about it with members of the Simply Club and colleagues and campaigners for a long time but wanted to focus on what we can do and what lessons we can learn for the future.
3 million taxpayers (individuals and businesses) have received no or very little financial support from the government throughout the covid pandemic – and a large number of these are micro businesses.
It’s clear that government has chosen not to provide the financial Covid relief support that’s so badly needed, so change needs to happen from the bottom up.
We can all play our part in the recovery of Britain’s small businesses, whether you’re an individual wanting to support our small businesses or a micro business owner yourself.
Why the focus on small businesses?
In 2020, small businesses (those with fewer than 50 employees) accounted for 36.4% of private sector turnover and 38% of all private sector jobs in the UK. Small businesses are crucial to the UK’s economy and their contribution is increasing every year.
I’ve written before about the many benefits small businesses have – not just for our economy but for our society, culture and our individual quality of life – in this post, for instance.
A new independent report reveals that the total anticipated cost to small businesses and the self-employed will be upwards of £126.6 billion.
Of the 1,206 small business owners spoken to for the report, 81% said they haven’t had enough support from the government.
What can we do about it?
How can we shine a light on those who have suffered? What can we do to stand by our fellow micros and campaign for action that supports small business? How can we create a society that champions individuals who choose careers that matter to people, places and planet?
There’s no magic bullet that will solve the financial crisis affecting 3 million excluded taxpayers. But there is something that every one of us can do to help them.
Here are 3 things you can do as an individual:
1. Talk about it
To affect change, it’s important that more people become aware of the issue, so talk about it with your friends, family and colleagues. Post about it on social media. Support campaigns such as ExcludedUK, who are working to raise awareness and lobby the government on this issue.
If you would like to support the great work being done by ExcludedUK, please consider making a donation or volunteering your time. Visit excludeduk.org
2. Use your spending power
As a consumer, you have more power than you might realise. Money talks and if enough of us choose to direct the flow of money towards small businesses, we can begin to create a fairer, more sustainable future.
It’s easy to choose micro – it just takes a tiny bit of forethought. Use social media and search engines to find small businesses offering what you need. Ask friends and family for recommendations.
This is in our hands – remember your own power and use it. Where you spend your money matters!
3. Go further
If you want to take your support a step further, find out if your Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has a focus on small business. Contact the LEP’s chair if you want to ask questions or give feedback. You could also raise the issue with your MP, either by writing to them or attending a surgery (once they are open again). The more people who raise this issue with politicians and local authority bodies, the more likely they are to move it up the priority list.
“This is in all our hands – remember your actions are votes for a future where micro business matters more.” - Emily, Founder of Simply Great Britain
Are you a micro business owner who has fallen through the gaps in Covid-19 support?
If you are a micro business owner (that includes freelancers and sole traders) and you’re struggling as a result of a lack of financial support from the government then please reach out to one of the following:
ExcludedUK – While they cannot offer financial support, they can signpost you to where you may be able to apply for grants or loans. They also offer free 1:1 counselling sessions with qualified practitioners.
Your local growth hub – They can provide business guidance and support, including with accessing grants or loans.
Simply Great Britain – We’re here to support all micros, so please get in touch if you’re struggling right now. We cannot offer financial support but we can provide advice, training and morale support.
Other small business support organisations like Enterprise Nation.