“We’ve both been left unemployed…before, we were hanging on and now we’ve just fallen…the Coronavirus, it’s just pushed us over the edge”
Lucy Graney lives with her husband Will and their two young children in Salford, UK. Before the pandemic she was a sling librarian, consultant and a prolific content creator publishing on Facebook and Instagram.
Both Lucy and Will recently made the move to self-employment which meant they weren’t eligible for any government grants to sustain their businesses through lockdown.
In this postcard, sent on 11th June, she reflects on family life in isolation, being Autistic and the challenges that their current situation presents as lockdown is lifted.
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Lucy’s scenario is not unique, especially to those who are newly self-employed. In the government’s bid to avoid fraudulent claims to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), those without a tax return for 18/19 were prevented from applying.
A recent Treasury Select Committee highlighted that a million people in the UK have been left without income support because they were excluded from COVID-19 salaried or self-employed schemes. Recommendations included an urgent review to help the many people like Lucy and Will.
According to the Fawcett Society, by this summer 51% of parents with young children will struggle to make ends meet. In particular, women in the UK have been disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus pandemic in terms of childcare responsibilities, job losses and poor mental health.
Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies highlights that the widening gap between out of work benefits and the rising cost of living adds to the precarious situation that families face.