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Volume 684: debated on Wednesday 18 November 2020

We now come to the presentation of public petitions. As hon. Members will know, the Member has about one minute to present the petition. These are short speeches.

Financial support for the self-employed during covid-19

I rise to present a petition on behalf of my constituents in relation to financial support for the self-employed during covid-19. I have presented a few petitions this week, and I have noticed how much harder it has been for constituents to collect signatures in the current circumstances. So I would like to pay particular tribute to my constituent who has successfully managed to collect these signatures. She herself is only one of the 3.5 million people who have been excluded from Government schemes, and I hope the Government can address that.

The petition, which I fully endorse, declares:

The petition of residents of the constituency of Linlithgow and East Falkirk,

Declares that the economic consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic has had a particularly harsh impact on those individuals who are self-employed or run small businesses; expresses concern that, despite the Chancellor’s recent response to changing circumstances, his Winter Economic Plan means the Self Employment Income Support Scheme is to be scaled down; and further expresses concern that the many gaps already existing in the previous scheme that was inadequate for the millions of people who considered themselves excluded from Government support have not been addressed.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to bring forward additional measures to support those self-employed and freelance workers.

And the petitioners remain, etc


Accessibility of leisure attractions

The petition calls for greater disabled access to leisure attractions, alongside an outline petition with more than 26,000 signatures. That follows a journey of one of my constituents, six-year-old Sebby Brett, and his difficult experience at a theme park last year.

The petition states:

The petition of the residents of Stroud and the surrounding area,

Declares that all leisure attractions including theme parks should be adjusted to ensure that they are accessible to all citizens; further that all attractions built in the future should be fully accessible where possible to ensure that all disabled visitors are provided with equal dignity, an equal opportunity to experience the leisure attractions and equal value of money for their trips as all other guests; and further that guests should not be required to take disability tests.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take into account the concerns of the petitions and take immediate action to ensure that all leisure attractions are accessible to all individuals irrespective of ability.

And the petitioners remain, etc.


Banning of unpaid work trials

I thank my constituent, Ellen Reynolds, for her actions in bringing the petition together. She has experienced what it is like to work a so-called trial shift and not to get paid. She does not want anyone else to go through that. Her e-petition on the parliamentary website has more than 7,000 signatures. I hope there will be more, so that we get a Government response, a debate and perhaps even action to stop that unscrupulous practice.

The petition states:

The petition of residents of the constituency of Glasgow North,

Declares that unpaid trial shifts are open to exploitation and can be used by unscrupulous employers to take advantage of vulnerable people looking for a job; further that often unpaid trials are for minimum wage jobs and the people applying for them cannot afford to work for free but may have no other option; further that unpaid trial shift workers may also have to incur the cost of travelling to and from the trial shift as well as procuring a uniform; further that potential employees may feel as though they cannot say no to exploitative trials without risking their future livelihood; and further that it is unfair to force someone to work for hours without pay, and incur additional costs, for a job they might not even get.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take action and ban all unpaid work trials.

And the petitioners remain, etc.