James O'Brien caller: "I've totally and utterly been let down by the government"

2 April 2020, 14:34 | Updated: 2 April 2020, 14:45

By Fiona Jones

This self-employed caller told James O'Brien how he has been "totally and utterly" let down by the government despite earning within the support threshold, and does not know where to turn.

Stuart in Reigate told James how he tragically lost his daughter years ago from suicide leading him to feel at the end of his life as he knew it - so his grief spurred him to start an independent company.

He shared that he had a really good year "and it's just stopped."

"I can 100% tell you I'm not in the £50,000 wage bracket and I took £1000 a month last year out," he shared with James.

"It's just stopped, there's nothing at all and I've totally and utterly been let down by the government and we're all going to be paying for it," he said.

"Everybody thinks it's free, it's not free," Stuart said, referencing a self-employed man he works with who said he "might as well" take the support offered from the government during the pandemic. Stuart urged him not to take it because "we'll all be paying for it."

Rishi Sunak has announced a support package for self-employed whose profit is under £50,000 per annum
Rishi Sunak has announced a support package for self-employed whose profit is under £50,000 per annum. Picture: PA

James asked Stuart what he's entitled to and he said "nothing" because he takes out his wage as dividends - so now he's had to take out a personal loan.

"Rishi Sunak has clearly consciously decided he can get away with not looking after you," said James, referring to the Chancellor's support package which states anyone self-employed whose profit is under £50,000 a year can claim 80% of their monthly earnings up to £2,500.

Stuart said, "I get the fact that you have to have a guidance...but it would be so much easier if they looked into it a little bit closer, instead of going a blanket ban, anything over that you're not getting it."

"You're talking about peoples' livelihoods," Stuart said, telling James he's never gone cap in hand to the government, "it's really hard."

Stuart expressed his fear that he and his wife have "no idea" where they're going to end up financially or what will happen to the building sector.

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