Budget 2021: 'I wish they would at least acknowledge that a lot of people have fallen through the gap'

Beryl Preuschmann and Sean Fogarty are the couple behind hit Edinburgh-based tour business TripOrganiser, and were looking to the Budget for recognition and inclusion of those previously overlooked for government funding and support.

Beryl Preuschmann and Sean Fogarty have struggled to make ends meet without government support for limited company directors like themselves who are working in the particularly hard hit industries of hospitality and tourism.

TripOrganiser has been hit hard by the impact of the pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns as a small tour operator business reliant on Scotland’s usual swell of tourists to keep business flowing. Yet, over the last few months Beryl and Sean have been left without access to support as small, limited company directors excluded from UK Government support schemes, caught between minimal amounts of income provided by furlough and no access to Universal Credit.

The year has been a whirlwind for the couple who got married and had a child against the backdrop of the global pandemic wreaking havoc on livelihoods within and outwith Scotland. The flexibility of running their own business and being self-employed has, however, since dealt a heavy blow for their household – with Beryl unable to take on the mainly customer service, shelf-stacking jobs available last year due to her pregnancy and Sean trying to sustain the family as a delivery driver.

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Alongside many who had been holding out hope for today’s Budget and the Chancellor’s commitment to “doing whatever it takes to support British people and businesses through this crisis”, Beryl said that the latest Budget was yet another missed opportunity to help those who have been previously excluded from support and campaigning for inclusion in support schemes.

“I wish they would at least acknowledge that a lot of people have fallen through the gap continuously,” she added. “I don't think they really understand what normal people live with and how hard it is to do this.”

Now, the couple say they are hoping that a new sub-grant from Visit Scotland – aiming to assist those left out by previous grants which did not provide for home-based businesses without physical premises – will allow them to keep afloat until their business can resume once more.

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