Sheffield MP sympathises with low-earners refusing to self-isolate

A Sheffield MP has said he has sympathy for people on a low income refusing to self-isolate.

Friday, 16th October 2020, 12:56 pm

Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield South East, called for ‘full compensation’ for average and low-income earners forced to take time off work because of coronavirus.

He said: "There’s a world of difference between asking someone to isolate on a good salary working from home and asking someone in a low paid job [who can’t work from home].

"Anyone on an average or below salary should be given full compensation, it will save money in the long term. It’s only for two weeks.”

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Average and low-income earners in Sheffield who are forced to self-isolate should be given 'full compensation', Sheffield MP Clive Betts has said.

The Government currently offers a £500 payment for people on lower incomes forced to self-isolate who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result. Just under 4 million people who are in receipt of benefits in England are eligible for this.

Mr Betts added: "If you are financially hard-up anyway and you are told you’re two weeks out of salary that’s a lot of money for some people. I can see why people don’t do it.”

He also called for improvements to the Track and Trace system after Sheffield’s director of Public Health Greg Fell said only about 73 per cent of contacts are being traced in the city.

Mr Fell said the aim is to reach between 90 and 95 per cent of contacts.

Clive Betts.

Mr Betts said: “You can have all the restrictions in the world and keep changing them but it’s pretty pointless unless you implement a testing a tracing system. It still isn’t happening.

“The restrictions will be lesser the more positive we are at getting people to isolate. The system is completely failing at present, only half of people are being contacted. It’s a complete failure."

Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam Olivia Blake urged the Government to hand over control of contact tracing to councils and local Public Health teams.

She said: “Sheffield’s local Public Health team is clear – to get this under control they need a quick turnaround on test results, and rapid and complete contact tracing. People in my constituency – and across the country – desperately need a functioning test, track and trace system.”

Mr Betts added: "Unless the systems are improved we are inevitably heading to Tier 3.”