Bury St Edmunds businessman left without an income during pandemic appeals for support to force government review
A Bury St Edmunds businessman is urging people to sign a petition to force a government review of how companies have been supported during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Will Roney, who runs engineering consultancy WR Technical Ltd, saw his earnings drop overnight in March, from 40,000-a-year to zero.
He has run his company for the last five years years and was working on two multi-million pound contracts when lockdown began and the work dried up.
As the director of a limited company, he paid himself in PAYE earnings and also dividends, which is common practice for business owners.
But he says his situation has left him ineligible for any national or local government support.
“Some 12 million people needed help with their business when the lockdown began,” said Mr Roney, who lives in Bury St Edmunds .
“Yet because of the way funding and grants were structured, three million people, including myself, fell through the net.
“Even though I work for myself, as a director of my company, I am not technically self-employed, so couldn’t get a self-employment grant.
“I couldn’t furlough myself because that would have prevented me looking for work.
“I was also turned down for a local authority grant as I work at home and don’t pay business rates. So I was completely stuck.
“I couldn’t even get universal credit because of my savings, which have all now pretty much been eaten up.”
Mr Roney, who is married with three stepchildren, has found moral support from two social media-based support groups, Excluded UK and Forgotten Ltd, for people in the same position. Its members are also backed by an all-party parliamentary group headed by MPs Jamie Stone and Tracy Brabin.
“I am asking for anyone who believes in fairness to sign the petition as so many people have fallen through the net,” added Mr Roney.
“I have been through a rollercoaster of emotions and still don’t know what the future holds.
“A total of 100,000 signatures are needed for the petition by theend of September for it to be considered for debate in the House of Commons. It currently stands at 96,500.”
The petition can be found at www.petition.parliament.uk