The woman who embroidered wedding dresses for the Duchess of Sussex and the Duchess of Cambridge said she still fears losing her home as she has been excluded from government support throughout the pandemic.
Chloe Savage, who was rushed to hospital with Covid-19 in January, said she only received a grant of £ 1,000 in November, which barely covered her running costs for two weeks, and she was forced to give up her workshop.
She said the past year had been “absolutely heartbreaking”.
Ms Savage, 43, who supports both the Excluded UK and ForgottenLtd campaigns, which are asking the government for more support for self-employed people and small business owners, said she did not expect good news from the Wednesday’s budget announcement.
The Chancellor is expected to announce additional support for the self-employed, with more than 600,000 people – many of whom became self-employed in 2019/20 – now eligible for cash grants.
However, Ms Savage said the reality is that around three million people have been left without support.
“Rishi (Sunak) still refuses to admit that the numbers are even correct,” she said. “There are three million people, including me, who will never vote Conservative again.
“If I start to hope, I will be disappointed,” she added.
The tailoring expert, who helped sew Meghan’s veil, told the PA news agency: “I’ve had a bit of support, mostly from outside people.
“A lovely lady set up a crowdfunding that paid two months rent, but we are still living hand to mouth.”
She is due to start repaying a £ 25,000 government rebound loan in April, but currently has no job to do so.
“Canceling the bounce loans would be really nice because it takes a lot of the pressure off trying to figure out how we’re going to pay it off when we still can’t work,” she said.
Ms Savage comes from a family of dressmakers and described the industry as a “dying” profession and said that even when theaters reopen she worries she won’t have enough work.
She said: “Theaters may reopen at some point, but we suspect they’re going to be doing a lot of costume recycling because their budgets are cut. They lost the equivalent of a year of income.
“The people we work with are just as broke and we don’t know how we’re going to move forward. “
She added: “I have been paying my taxes since the day I started working at 16 when I got my first job on Saturday. I have never failed to work and provide for my three children.
“It’s a huge kick in the teeth, and when I really need help it’s not my fault. Why is it now that we are told that we are not worthy? “