A builder who was due to start a new job just as the coronavirus outbreak hit the UK says he has been left with nothing as he isn’t covered by any of the government’s financial support schemes.
Samuel-James Wilson contacted Professional Builder to ask us to help raise awareness of his situation, which many others are also finding themselves in (as you can see by searching #newstarterfurlough on Twitter).
He said: “I have been employed since I was 15 years old, I undertook a scholarship with The Prince’s Foundation and gained a heritage qualification in brickwork. Following this, I worked on Hampton Court Palace and, more recently, for a small restoration company in London. Then, earlier this year, I left a very stable job of three years to begin a new role, but one working day before my contract was to commence, the company withdrew the offer due to the coronavirus outbreak. I am now unemployed for the first time since I was 15 and am having to sign up for Universal Credit. I have paid taxes, NI and everything I was asked, now I am left with nothing whilst the self-employed and people that fall within the government’s brackets get 80 per cent of their wages paid.”
Because of the timings of when Samuel-James left his previous job and was due to start his new one, he is not eligible under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and as he wasn’t self-employed, cannot go down that route for support either.
A petition calling for Rishi Sunak to address this gap in support has already received almost 60,000 signatures. You can sign here: change.org/p/rishi-sunak-review-the-government-furlough-scheme-to-include-workers-who-started-their-job-this-month
Also, there is a Facebook page where people are sharing support tips and advice, sharing responses from their local MPs etc.
Are you in a similar position? Is there any other support available?