Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland
SDLP Social Justice Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has called for the urgent implementation of a Self-Isolation Support Grant for Northern Ireland. Such schemes have already been rolled in England, Scotland and Wales to ensure anyone who is forced to self-isolate will not suffer further financial hardship.
The Foyle MLA said:
“It is utterly unconscionable that we remain the only devolved government yet to implement a Self-Isolation Support Grant for those required to self-isolate and who cannot carry out work at home.
“A protection payment of £500 has been afforded elsewhere on these islands but not here. People are being forced to choose between self-isolating or financially supporting themselves and their families. And while Westminster claims it is currently exploring a UK-wide scheme, I would suggest that the relevant departments here now take a leaf from Scotland’s book. In recognition of the urgent need for such a scheme to protect low income households, the Scottish government have taken the initiative to secure alternative funds within their own budget, until Westminster provides additional funding.
“I’ve submitted an urgent question to the Minister for Communities urging her to liaise with her Executive colleagues on this matter. The Executive must put their nose to the grindstone to get this scheme up and running immediately and into the hands of the people who need it. They have continually called on the public to adhere to guidance to protect lives and livelihoods, I would argue the Executive has a duty of care to put a framework in place to allow people to do this. They must do the right thing; people here cannot be left behind.”