Letter to editors on self isolation

Dear Editor,

Baroness Dido Harding, who leads the Government’s struggling Test and Trace scheme, has finally acknowledged what we have known for a long time- that a significant number of people are not self-isolating with COVID-19 symptoms for financial reasons.

In fact, a recent Government-funded study has revealed that, during the first lockdown, just 18% of respondents in the UK with a temperature, a continuous cough or loss of smell and taste had stayed home as the guidelines ask.

Whilst there will be multiple reasons behind these findings, and I really do urge those with symptoms to isolate, there are actions the Government could be taking right now to increase compliance with the rules.

In recent weeks, we have heard concerns from councils about the Government’s current self-isolation payment system.

Some case studies have shown that local authorities are rejecting the majority of applications because the criteria are too narrow, whilst other already cash-strapped councils have spent millions of pounds of their own money to meet surging demand and amidst a shortfall in funding from Government.

For the sake of our community’s safety, the Government must urgently fix these issues, or raise Statutory Sick Pay so it is in line with the London Living Wage.


Andrew Dismore AM

London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden