More than 2,000 Stoke-on-Trent residents rejected for £500 self-isolation payments


Nearly half-a-million pounds has been paid out to self-isolating Stoke-on-Trent residents during the pandemic – but more than 2,000 applications have been rejected.

A total of 3,282 people in the city had applied for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payments up to February 10, with 983 of these, or 30 per cent, being successful, receiving £491,500 between them.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council, which administers the payments locally in the Potteries, was allocated £327,000 for the main support scheme by government, along with a further £135,000 for a discretionary scheme.

The support payments are aimed at people on low income who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, and who could lose out financially due to being unable to work from home for 10 days.

In order to qualify for a payment from the main scheme, applicants have to meet certain criteria, such as being in receipt of benefits including Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit.

People who are not claiming these benefits can still receive a discretionary payment, if they can demonstrate they are on a low income, and would face ‘financial hardship as a result of self-isolating’.

The city council has issued 813 payments under the main scheme, totalling £406,500 – more than the authority has been allocated by the government. Another 170 discretionary payments, totalling £85,000, have also been awarded, with enough left in the pot for another 100 payments. The support payment scheme is due to end on March 31.

A council report states: “We have made awards in excess of the main scheme funding that we have received, but the Department of Health and Social Care have advised that they regularly analyse awards made and also request regular updates from local authorities in relation to spend – main scheme awards will continue to be reimbursed until the end of the scheme, which at present, is due to end on March 31, 2021.

“We still have £50,000 left of discretionary funding with a further seven weeks of the scheme left to run – the DoHSC have stated that there are no plans for additional funding to be made in relation to the discretionary element.”



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The report does not give further details on why 2,299 applications were rejected.

Labour released figures earlier this year which showed that three-quarters of applications to the discretionary schemes arounds the country had been rejected.

Critics have claimed that many people are failing to self-isolate as they cannot afford to stay at home for 10 days.

Dido Harding, head of NHS Test and Trace, admitted to MPs last month that an estimated 20,000 people a day were coming into contact with others despite being told to self-isolate.



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Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds had called on the government to expand the support payment scheme.

She said: “Anyone who needs support to self-isolate should be able to access it – no matter where they live or when they develop symptoms.

“That is the only way we can keep the virus under control when restrictions are lifted, avoid the devastating economic damage of another lockdown and help the vaccine programme succeed.”

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