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Government urged to extend test and trace support payment to avoid fourth national lockdown

THE government was urged last night to extend the £500 test-and-trace support payment to workers who don’t get sick pay to prevent a fourth national lockdown.

Labour said the move would help keep the virus under control after Sage scientists warned that financial hardship was a barrier to self-isolation.

The head of test and trace, Dido Harding, estimated that 20,000 people a day were not self-isolating because they could not afford not to work.

However, Labour warned that only one in eight workers were currently automatically able to access the test-and-trace support payment.

Low-income parents of self-isolating children should also receive it and the no recourse to public funds rule should be suspended, it said.

Labour’s call comes as new analysis from the party reveals that the current national lockdown is costing the economy £1.6 billion a week. 

It warned that the Conservative government’s failure to reset the system for self-isolation risks further economic damage once the current national restrictions end.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds 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.

“However, under the current system just three in 10 people who should be self-isolating are doing so.

“The government’s roadmap to recovery must improve the system of self-isolation in this country.”

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