27 Aug Coronavirus: £13-a-day self-isolation payments are ‘an insult’, government warned | UK News
Compensation payments for people who have to self-isolate have been branded “an insult” by a charity in one of the pilot areas.
The government is trialling payments to those who claim Universal Credit – or Working Tax Credit – to help them financially if they are asked to quarantine.
People that are eligible will be entitled to £13 a day, which totals £130 for someone who is isolating for 10 days, and £182 for someone who is doing so 14 days.
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The scheme is being trialled in several COVID-19 hotspots, including Pendle in Lancashire.
“Would you give up working, for £13 a day?,” asked Lynne Mitchell, who works at food charity Pendle Food Club.
“I wouldn’t. People here have no savings. We’re wrung out. The 10 or so people who’ve come in today for food say it’s not enough to keep them at home if they were asked to self-isolate.
“It’s an insult, really.”
Karl Murray, 45, also lives in Pendle and is a self-employed cleaner, currently claiming working tax credits. He says the government proposal is not enough.
“I’d have to go to work,” he told Sky News, adding: “They say it’s a choice, but you don’t really get a choice, do you?
“Unfortunately I’d probably have to go to work.”
Mr Murray is already accessing the food charity to stop himself going hungry.
He says not only would he not self-isolate if he was asked to, but he would be reticent to take a test if he had coronavirus symptoms.
“If I thought it might be just like a bit of a cold, or even if it could be COVID-19, I probably wouldn’t go for a test”, he said.
“I’d do what I had to do because of my personal circumstances. The £13 would maybe cover my gas and water bills, but the rest – it wouldn’t cover that. It’s need to be closer to what I could earn in a day.”
Local councils, which have lobbied the government for additional support, believe the amount should be closer to the living wage – at around £50 a day.
One Pendle councillor, Mohammad Iqbal, told Sky News, the amount currently proposed by the government was “a slap in the face to normal working class people”.