MILLIONS of people are desperately seeking help after being left out of the Treasury’s pandemic support schemes entirely. 

Thousands of Scottish business people are thought to be ineligible for all of Rishi Sunak’s previous job-saving announcements, as well as his latest plans.

SNP MP Alison Thewliss raised the issue with the Chancellor when he announced his spending plans on Thursday, and said: “There’s nothing here, nothing whatsoever for those that have been excluded from accessing support. 

“The freelancers, the forgotten limited, the PAYE, the new starters, the women on maternity are all those who have had not one penny piece from this Government for six months.

“He cannot say he doesn’t know this is the problem, although he still refuses to meet them. How dare he say these three million people should be left high and dry with nothing.”

Two Scottish business owners spoke to The Herald about their disappointment in the Chancellor’s most recent statement, which they say will not help them at all.

Kate Cameron, a 29-year-old from East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, started her own business on September 24 last year.

She has had no support from the Government’s schemes since the pandemic struck, and her business 
– KC Community Choir – dried up entirely.

She is one of three million people across the UK to have been left out of any support and is part of the Excluded UK campaign group. 

She said: “I was hoping to be celebrating the first year of my business toasting with champagne, but I think swigging vodka might be more appropriate after the statement on the support schemes. 

“I wasn’t expecting much from the Chancellor’s statement. I felt like people in my situation had just been forgotten about before and so I wasn’t surprised we’d been left out again.” 

Ms Cameron said that while she was hoping to get her choirs up and running again in the next few months, the latest round of restrictions on gathering, as well as the clampdown on singing in general. has made it impossible for her to trade.

During the peak of the lockdown she started offering sessions online free to improve people’s mental health, and has continued to work virtually since.

She has picked up a few jobs here and there, but said she is now earning in a month what she would have done in a week before the pandemic struck.

She added: “I haven’t been able to access any of the Government grants or schemes because I only started being fully self-employed in September last year, so I didn’t meet their 50/50 rules.

“That is when you have to have earned at least 50% of your income in the previous year through self-employment. “I managed to get a grant from the Prince’s Trust that has helped, but I do not know what I’ll do now.

“I’m doing some workshops online but I don’t know how long that will last because there’s no way for me to properly get out there again with the restrictions. I had hoped to start up again in January, but not now. 

“The fact they could last another six months or more terrifies me. I do not know how I will manage.”

Pauline Isherwood, 50, from Motherwell, North Lanarkshire,  is another self-employed businesswoman who has been unable to get support through the Government schemes, due to the “50/50” rule.

She took redundancy from her job in 2018 and set up her own training and consulting firm. She went from earning a good living to support herself, her husband and three children, to having to claim Universal Credit. 

She saifd: “To compound this, my husband is a DJ, so he’s also self-employed and with the restrictions on venues he can’t work at all.

“He did get the grant but I am the main breadwinner. We did get Universal Credit but have had to use our savings now and they don’t last forever with three children. We’re a family of five.”

Ms Isherwood said her business is starting to pick up again, but not to the same level as before the pandemic. As she works with business people from all over the world the reduction in people travelling has led to a cancellation of many of her courses and sessions.

She said: “I have worked and paid a lot in taxes, and when I took redundancy in 2018 HMRC received a third of that too. But when I need help it’s as if they have just forgotten about us.

“The Chancellor seems to have a bee in his bonnet too about self-employed people, he seems to think we’re all fraudsters or something, which is why he’s not supported us as much as the rest. It’s a very difficult time, for all of us, and I know I’m not the worst affected. People have had to sell their homes and completely turn their lives upside down just because they can’t get any support from the Government.”