The Budget, Maternity Rights, Universal Credit, Coronavirus Lockdown, Self Employment

The Budget, Maternity Rights

Self-employed mum-of-three says she has been 'forgotten' in the Budget

Self-employed mum-of-three says she has been 'forgotten' in the Budget

3/4/2021 12:41:00 AM

Self-employed mum-of-three says she has been 'forgotten' in the Budget

EXCLUSIVE: Mum-of-three Helen Revell, 33, said she hoped the Budget would have included provisions for people who like her have had 'no government help whatsoever' since the pandemic broke out

Helen Revell, 33, from Farnborough, Hampshire, said she hoped Chancellor Rishi Sunak would announce support for all categories of self-employed workers after she was turned away.The Chancellor took to the Commons today for the first Budget since the Covid-19 outbreak in March last year.

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He announced a set of measures to help the country out of the crisis, but Helen said he failed to look out for people like her who "are stuck in between".Social media consultant Helen, who has three children aged one, three and five, registered as a self-employed in August 2019 and worked until March last year - when Covid struck and "it all dried up".

She said she was able to get maternity leave thanks to her having her baby the same month, and that lasted until December.Today Sunak announced the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be extended until the end of September.But when Helen previously applied for a self-employment grant, she was told she hadn't been registered long enough.

She told the Mirror: "It doesn't make sense, it's not like I haven't paid in, so I don't see how I don't qualify for any help at all."Left to provide for a family-of-five on her husband's salary alone, Helen turned to Universal Credit for help, but she was again told she didn't qualify.

"I've always worked since I left school. I only started working for myself in 2019, before that I was working full time, paying tax and national insurance."And now that I need some support I get nothing because I'm not too poor and I'm not that rich. I'm that in-between person that gets forgotten."

She hit out at the system for failing to acknowledge that while her family may well have an income, there are also a lot of outgoings on essentials such as food and bills."Basically they work out what you're entitled to and what income you have and they deduct one from the other.

"That's it. There's no consideration of where that income actually goes."She said applying for UC was "really complicated and long-winded for them to just turn around and say 'actually no you don't qualify for anything'.

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"We're kind of stuck," she said. "We don't qualify for a thing.""I qualified for maternity leave but after that stopped I couldn't qualify for anything else, so I've just been left high and dry. "Helen says she feels blessed she has her family who are able to support her, but said: "Some people don't have that, so what do they do?"

"I feel anxious, I don't want much, I'm not greedy - but just an acknowledgment that just because I'm self-employed it doesn't mean that I'm not struggling as well."How long you've been self-employed for shouldn't be a factor because either you have an income or you haven't, and if you haven't then you should be getting help."

While welcoming news that support for the self-employed would go on, she said the current system is forcing people in her same position to make tough choices, like thinking twice before going for a food shop and only buying what they really need.Helen called on the government to hand out grants or one-off payments to people who like her have seen "nothing" in the past year and are "missing out".

"There are a lot of people out there who for the last 12 months have had no government help whatsoever."And a lot of them have young families, a lot of them are women that claim self-employed so they can balance looking after their children and still making money.

"Statistically it is women that seem to be suffering the most at the moment." Read more: Daily Mirror »

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