The Liberal Democrats have put forward a motion to Daventry District Council to get the full council on side to lobby both local MP Chris Heaton-Harris and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, to change approach and make funding support available for the up to 3 million people who have so far fallen through the COVID funding gap.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Jonathan Harris says:
" Despite a high profile campaign by Excluded UK, the government has continued to fail to recognise this group of individuals. These people and small businesses are the often the lifeblood of innovation and creativity in this country. Many have taken risks to set up new businesses, they pay their taxes, contribute greatly to the local economy and often go on to create employment for others. He Continues, "the government suggests that it is too risky to support this group of people. In the context of the ridiculous amount of money spent on a track and trace system that doesn't work, PPE contracts that have failed to deliver, except make a few individuals rich. The National audit office has confirmed that £10.5 billion worth of contracts were awarded directly without a competitive tender process. With this in mind to say that funding this group is a risk is simply nonsense".
Local resident Emma Carpendale says:
" My business has been closed since March due to Covid. I have been excluded from the Government emergency support, have so far been unable to claim Universal Credit, I've only been able to claim Job Seekers Allowance from June, wasn't allowed to have it back dated to March and didn't know about the discretionary council grants until the deadline passed. My work takes place at live events, I don't have business premises and the council only got in touch with people about the grants who paid business rates . My application to the SEMLEP Kick Start scheme, administered by SEMLEP was rejected, so I am at a loss as to where to go for support. I contacted all three of my Conservative councillors but received no response. That's why I contacted Cllr Harris from a different ward".
Liberal Democrat Cllr Catherine Lomax added:
"To turn our backs on this group is shameful. That's why we put forward the motion to council. There is little within the direct control of the council on this matter as the grant awards have largely had tight government controls around them and the council has simply administered them. However, we as a council do have a voice and we should use it".