The Resolution Foundation, an independent think tank focused on improving the living standards of those on low-to-middle incomes, has urged the government to implement the proposed universal £500 self-isolation payment.
Researcher Maja Gustafsson said: “It’s very welcome that the government is considering radically extending financial support to those asked to self-isolate.
“With many difficult months remaining ahead of us, it is essential that people are able to comply with the test and trace regime without facing financial hardship as a result.
“The current approach is not fit for purpose with statutory sick pay among the least generous of advanced economies and too few people eligible for the £500 support payments.
“Swiftly putting in place a much more universal and generous system will make a real difference to controlling the spread of the virus.”
Government sources have reportedly been quick to soft pedal the idea after details of the suggestion were made public, via a leaked document from the Department of Health.
Last September it became a legal requirement for anyone who had tested positive for Coronavirus to self isolate for a period of two weeks.
However, there are growing fears that the current financial support package is not working, as people on lower incomes cannot afford to self isolate.
The government announced a Test and Trace Support Payment scheme, in late September, to reimburse people who had lost income as a result of self-isolation.
Although, data obtained by Labour suggested that just 12,069 of a total 49,877 applicants had been successful in obtaining the £500 grant.
There are now calls to expand the grant to the wider population to aid the financial burden that periods of isolation can put on many workers.
These calls have been met with scepticism, however, with the BBC reporting that a universal payment could cost the government as much as £453m per week; which is twelve times the cost of the current support package.
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