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28 August, 2020 Open access

New self-isolation payment scheme is so limited it will still leave millions of families facing financial problems

'Paltry payments' will not make the difference needed, says the TUC

The government's new COVID-19 self-isolation payment scheme is so limited it will still leave millions of families still facing financial problems, the TUC has said.

Further to the government's announcement yesterday that the new payment scheme will start on 1 September 2020, the TUC says that the 'belated concession' by ministers that many families face an impossible choice between hardship and health will still leave people struggling if they have to self-isolate.

For example, the UC highlights that -

With seven out of eight households not in receipt of the relevant benefits to be able to claim the new payment, and most potentially eligible workers - even those on universal credit or working tax credit - missing out because their area is not in local lockdown, the TUC says being forced into isolation without being able to work from home still means a massive income hit for many families.

Commenting on the new scheme, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said -

'These paltry payments will not make the difference needed.  

Every worker should have the right to decent sick pay so they can help stop the spread of the virus. Ministers shouldn’t need a trial to know that’s the right thing to do. And sick pay must not become a postcode lottery.  

The sooner government gets on with delivering fair sick pay for everyone, the quicker we will beat this pandemic. It should be at least as much as the real Living Wage - £320 a week - so everyone who needs to self-isolate can afford to.'

For more information, see £13 a day isn’t enough - isolating workers need proper sick pay from tuc.org.uk