Responding to Imran Hussain MP’s question in Parliament today on concerns he raised in November about self-isolation payments, Health Minister Jo Churchill MP admitted the Health Secretary had seen the concerns, but failed to answer why Imran had still not received a response three months on.
Following the introduction in September last year of self-isolation payments of £500 to help support those who were required to self-isolate, Imran wrote to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP in November with concerns that a number of people in Bradford East were being denied or unable to apply for the self-isolation payment after they had tested positive for COVID-19, despite being eligible under the Government’s narrow criteria.
However, three months on from raising these serious concerns with the Health Secretary, Imran has still not received a response from the Secretary of State, despite the Minister for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care, Jo Churchill admitting in Parliament today that the Health Secretary had seen Imran’s letter to him from November.
Speaking on the concerns that he raised with the Health Secretary around the self-isolation payment scheme, Imran said:
“It is absolutely outrageous that the Health Secretary and the Government have been sitting on these serious concerns that I raised with them three months ago, and that despite being aware of the challenges that people have faced in accessing the self-isolation support scheme, they have still left them unaddressed.
“To ensure that we can stop the spread of Coronavirus and to keep infection rates down over a sustained period, we have to make sure that all those people who need to self-isolate can afford to do so without having to worry about whether they can keep a roof over their head or put food on the table because they’re unable to work.
“The self-isolation support payment scheme should therefore be a key plank of the Government’s strategy in getting to grips with the spread of Coronavirus, which is why it is even more astounding and inexplicable that they still haven’t taken on board or responded to my concerns around flaws limiting the scheme’s effectiveness. They have to urgently get a grip of this situation, and they can start by addressing the still outstanding issues that I raised.”