Since the pandemic, three million people have been excluded from meaningful national government financial support. New starters, newly self-employed, new small businesses, those on parental leave, on freelance short-term contracts, and other workers left behind make up 10% of the UK’s workforce. After being left to fall through the cracks, Excluded UK was set up to campaign for more support.
Key sectors in and around our city have been hit hard this year – with support from Government lacking so far. Bristol’s economy now has at least 8,000 fewer jobs than at the start of the pandemic. 100,000 Bristolians are employed in, or in work supported by, the night time economy and creative and cultural sectors. We have quadrupled the council’s business team so that they can distribute grants swiftly to those who are eligible, but we share the frustration about gaps in the national system and strict conditions attached to the funding which we do have. As administration, we have also supported the #LetUsDance campaign, to extend protection for the dance music sector, and the Raise the Bar campaign, to give thousands more businesses access to business rates relief.
With Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, and Steve Rotheram, the Mayor of Liverpool City Region, last week I met with Excluded UK and heard first-hand about the impact of the Government’s lack of support. People affected are really struggling, and so I have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to highlight the issues raised and call for more to do be done to help people through this crisis. I have also signed a joint letter organised by Prospect and Bectu with other trade unions, business leaders, industry bodies, and Mayors. You can check out the video from last week’s event and the letters, below.