A woman who embroidered wedding gowns for the Duchess of Sussex and Duchess of Cambridge said she faces winding up her business after failing to qualify for support in Wednesday’s Budget.
Chloe Savage, who runs Chloe Savage Embroidery in Bristol, does not qualify for financial support because she is a limited company director and does not count as self-employed.
The expert needleworker, who worked on Meghan’s veil in 2018, is due to begin repaying a £25,000 bounce back loan from the Government in April, but has no work to be able to do so.
She told the PA news agency: “We’re not going to make profits and even if I can manage to keep going, I am not going to make a profit in three years.
“I have to recover the mess I have been left with. And why do we get loans and the self-employed get a grant? What’s the difference? Why do I have to take on debt, and they get a grant?
“I need to sit down and have a talk with my accountant. It might be more practical to wind up the business and go self-employed.”
She said the state of her finances means she would be unlikely to qualify for a loan even if she decided to apply for one: “I am jacked up on my credit cards, just to survive. So I won’t qualify, and I can guarantee just about every other small business is in the same boat.”
Ms Savage, who comes from a family of dressmakers, said she has been working in the industry for 20 years and feels heartbroken at the thought of winding up her business.
“I put everything into it, it’s like my child,” she said.
“I’ve spent 10 years building it up, I’ve been up at two in the morning working for it. And now I feel like I’ve been asked to just strangle my own child.”
She is recovering from Covid-19, having spent two weeks in hospital with the virus at the start of January.
She said she feels like small businesses are being “punished” by the government.
“We can’t grow, we can’t expand and we can’t become the big businesses, the Amazons,” she added.
She said the Chancellor “did not want to see” the three million workers excluded from support, adding: “He still has not plugged a single hole in his set-up.
“I think it’s a matter of his pride now.
“We’ve been horrified, disgusted, at his Twitter and Instagram campaigns, because it’s basically saying, let’s rub your nose in it a bit more. It’s that degrading.”
A spokesperson for the Excluded UK campaign said: “It is vital to recognise that those individuals excluded from support are not just the self-employed. They are also limited company directors, employees who were denied furlough for a variety of reasons, zero-hour contract workers and PAYE freelancers.
“We continue to urge the Chancellor to offer support for all those who, through no fault of their own, have suffered one year of little no income or support, many having been plunged into debt and poverty and may suffer serious long-term financial insecurity — those who now need it most, and businesses that are viable, to draw on the Chancellor’s own terms.”