Covid: Support group says excluded self-employed need help
Life savings have been spent, loans have been taken out and cars have been put up for sale by some of those affected by
the financial fallout of Covid-19. Three million self-employed workers have received no help from the government during
the pandemic, according to the support group Excluded UK. We spoke to three of them about the devastating impact on
Father-of-two Gary Beck is proud to say he has never claimed benefits and has always worked hard to support his family.
He served in the Falklands War of 1982 before he left the Royal Navy to retrain as an electrical fitter and built up his own
company. He sold it and moved to Tenerife with his family in 2009.
They decided to return to Hatfield, Hertfordshire, five years ago when his wife Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer,
and he began working for an agency in the same role.
But when the pandemic hit, the agency let him go rather than being furloughed.
"I'm 63 and I'm on the scrapheap," he says. "I have spent all of my savings, around £15,000, just to survive and pay
Gary does not qualify for government support because he has a military pension, which covers his £700-a-month rent
but not his other bills.
He has applied for countless jobs, including food delivery driver roles, but has not had any luck.
"No one wants me, they're not interested in the skills I have got," he says.
'I went to war for this country and now I need help'
He used to take home around £2,000 a month and was the main breadwinner, with his wife working as a carer on
But he has just received a P45 showing he has earned £18.45 since April.
Gary has put his car up for sale and says he has given up on his dream of moving to Spain to retire.
"It is crazy," he says. "You worry every day about how you are going to eat. The stress is not good for my wife's health
and it's hard for me too.
"I suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder from the Falklands and this is making my mental health so much worse.
"I've been to war for this country and this is the one time I need help. I always thought the government would be
there for me if I needed it."
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