London (Precise Post) -The UK government announced on Thursday that people with low incomes living in areas with a high incidence of COVID-19 will be paid if they need to self-isolate and are unable to work from home.
“Eligible individuals who test positive with the virus will receive £130 ($172) for their 10-day period of self-isolation.“Other members of their household, who have to self-isolate for 14 days, will be entitled to a payment of £182 ($240),” the statement said.
The new payment scheme will start on Sept. 1 with a trial in areas such as Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham, three English cities where lockdown measures have been re-imposed after a spike in the number of coronavirus cases.
“This new payment scheme will help people on low incomes and who are unable to work from home to continue playing their part in the national fight against this virus,” the Health Minister Matt Hancock said.
The government’s announcement has prompted criticism from members of the Labour Party who claim a payment equivalent to £13 ($17) a day is not enough to make ends meet.
“In March, Matt Hancock said Statutory Sick Pay in the UK wasn’t enough to live on.Now he’s saying people who aren’t eligible for it should get a similar amount to self-isolate.If the Health Secretary couldn’t live on less than £100 ($132) a week, why does he think other people can?” Labour’s shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, wrote on her Twitter account.
Pendle borough Labour leader Mohammed Iqbal also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the payment was a “slap in the face” to people who are told to self-isolate and are unable to work from home.
The latest official figures show coronavirus cases have been rising by an average of 1,000 new infections per day over the last two weeks in the UK, where 41,465 deaths and 328,846 positive cases have been recorded since the pandemic began.