Today I was selected to ask the first question in Prime Minister’s Questions to Boris Johnson, I chose to focus on Self Isolation Payments. I have recently been contacted by numerous constituents telling me that they could not apply for the Discretionary Self Isolation Payment when they had been instructed to self isolate by Track & Trace. The reason they could not apply is that the government had not supplied enough discretionary isolation payment funding to Halton Council and the funding they had supplied had ran out on 10th February, after only assisting 171 people and leaving the council with a shortfall.
I also raised this with the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, days ago and was told it would be looked into, however, the further discretionary funding that has been offered to Halton so far is still only enough to provide financial support while isolating to a further approximately 56 Halton people. This is not enough.
The criteria for both discretionary and mandatory isolation payments is extremely strict and narrow. It is disgraceful that many working people are not being properly supported when they are instructed to self isolate. If we are to continue driving infection rates down it cannot be allowed to continue that people are being forced to choose between whether they can afford to self isolate or not. The government must urgently act to address this.
You can watch my exchange with the Prime Minister below.