County Councillor Julie Gibson, the Lancashire County Labour Group Shadow Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration has reacted at with dismay at the Government’s announcement that it will increase statutory sick pay for quarantined workers by just £13.00 per day. The Government recently announced that it is to pilot payments of £13.00 per day to people on low incomes who need to self isolate.
Cllr Gibson said “This amount is a disgrace. Every worker should have the right to decent sick pay and should not fear falling into debt if they have to self isolate. Back in June I called on the Government to do two things:
- To extend sick pay to cover all workers, and to raise it to the level of the real Living Wage, £320 per week.
- To retain the income support scheme as a source of financial support for those self-employed workers who are forced to self-isolate.
She continued: “What we have here is a piecemeal attempt by Government to try and cover up for the fact that they have never had a proper strategy to deal with the effect of the virus on people who, through no fault of their own, are forced to self isolate.
Cllr Gibson said: “The current rate of statutory sick pay is £96.00, these payments will push that level up to £182.00 but this is still nowhere near enough for people to live on; it is also important to remember that over two million workers in the UK are not covered by sick pay, so they will not qualify for anything.”
She added: “It is enough of a shock to receive news that you have Coronavirus symptoms; to then find out that by self-isolating you could be financially worse off is a double blow and one that could potentially plunge many people into poverty. I urge the Government to re-think this strategy and not to add a financial burden to individuals and families who are forced to self-isolate at this already stressful time.”