by martingosscolchesterppc on 22 July, 2021
I attended the Excluded Unity Alliance event on June 30th in London outside Parliament and spoke in support of the 3.8 million people who were excluded from any furlough payments. We will continue the pressure so the Government does the right thing.
The speech is outlined below:
“I am pleased and honoured to have been asked to open this rally on behalf of 3.8 million fellow citizens who have been unfairly refused furlough.
I have been in regional politics for 13 years and I would like to state very clearly that this is not party political. One of the many reasons I entered politics was to enter a fairer society where as many people as possible are included and not excluded and where as many as possible are all treated equitably.
The matter that we are all here to talk about today is the exact opposite that I believe in. As a Lib Dem, fairness is for all.
I first became aware of this issue in the first stages of the lockdown where Rishi Sunak stated very clearly on a number of occasions that no- one would be left behind. I’ve watched, read, listened and learned over the following months with it being abundantly clear to me that Rishi Sunak, the Treasury and this Government have not stuck to their word.
The number of my fellow citizens who have been excluded and affected grows daily, with continuing confusion and conflation over lockdown messaging, this matter is now a matter at crisis point. Every single day people are suffering.
Company Directors, people wrongly refused furlough who are pay-as-you-earn employees, marginalised minority groups and those who fall through the cracks continue to suffer. People have taken their own lives as they have received no support whatsoever. The Excluded Unity Alliance is going to change this.
This cross party group who have come together on a non-political basis will be the vehicle that engenders the change that is so desperately and urgently needed. After me I am pleased to see that cross party colleagues from Labour, SNP, Green Plaid Cymru, DUP and fellow Lib Dems have come together as a voice of unity, as a voice of common sense against a burning sense of injustice.
According to the Centre Think tank there are 16,000 people affected in my area of North Essex so this is an issue personal to me, my family, colleagues and friends. Nearly everyone knows someone who has fallen through the cracks and yet the Government has refused steadfastly to do anything about it. This isn’t acceptable and needs to change.
I don’t want anyone listening to think that this is just a national issue, it is very much a regional and local issue which is important to local politicians like myself. We will move mountains, knock down doors and get everyone who has been refused a fair deal.
We all know what it is like to lose a loved one. I lost my mum three years ago to this day and we must spare a thought to all those who have lost close and dear family or friends through the pandemic and also where sadly the denial of help from this Government has seen people take their own lives.
If Rishi Sunak made a mistake when creating the scheme, why has he doubled down for 18 months, rather than accepting the error and making fair and proportional change. This appears to be the Government’s way.
You will hear speaking this afternoon the very real and deeply personal stories of three people refused furlough. They are supported by cross Party politicians– Paula Barker, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Johnathon Banks and Ian Blackford. For detailed analysis of what has gone wrong using digestible facts and figures the speech from Torrin Wilkins will be a factual eye opener for all.
At the end of these short speeches and endorsements there will be a questions and answer session with remaining politicians.
I would like to thank on behalf of the Unity Alliance everyone who has played a part in this inaugural event today. There will be more throughout the country and this is just the beginning of the journey to help all those who have been ignored.”Leave a comment