Budget: Failing to support people in self-isolation 'biggest risk to the roadmap,' Burnham warns

27 February 2021, 12:12

By Seán Hickey

The Mayor of Greater Manchester urges Rishi Sunak to provide greater support for low-paid workers who are forced to self-isolate.

Andy Burnham told Andrew Castle that Chancellor Rishi Sunak must "fix self isolation support" in the upcoming budget in order to prevent coronavirus cases rising yet again.

"It's a message we've been saying all the way through the pandemic: Help people on low pay self-isolate if they're asked to do so." He suggested that people contacted by NHS test and trace often cannot afford to self-isolate and risk financial ruin because of a lack of support.

"If the Government fails to do this, Andrew, it's the biggest risk to the roadmap going forward," the Mayor of Greater Manchester warned.

Mr Burnham branded current flaws in pandemic support a "hole in our defences" against further waves of Covid-19, and predicted "at least 1,000 people a day are going into workplaces with the virus" in his constituency.

Andrew sympathised with people caught in a dilemma by requests to self-isolate, noting that "if you've got to put food on the table," it can be difficult to do so.

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Mr Burnham claimed that people are "being put in an impossible position," and because the current set-up is "massively oversubscribed," it shows the need for greater Government assistance.

"The need is very real, but the scheme the government has implemented doesn't meet the need."

Andrew put to the Labour Mayor that "pretty much universally people are saying 'don't increase the tax burden,'" and wondered how he felt about a proposed rise in corporation tax.

Mr Burnham accepted that "there are some companies that have done very well indeed" during lockdown and "there is a clear case for taxes on some of the industries that have done very well out of the pandemic."

"Maybe not right now, but there's absolutely a case for increasing corporation tax as we recover from the pandemic."

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