-- Advertisement --

Tory Health Secretary refuses to deny benefit claimants could be sanctioned if they catch Coronavirus

-- Advertisement --

Stay in touch!

Sign up to be updated with Evolve's latest stories, and for opportunities to get involved.
Loading

The Conservative Party’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has refused to deny that benefit claimants could face financial sanctions if they are forced to self-isolate due to the current coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking in Parliament, Labour’s shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, asked Hancock numerous questions about the ramifications for both insecure workers and benefit claimants if they are forced to self-isolate due to coronavirus.

Firstly, Ashworth asked:

“The Prime Minister said today, as indeed the Health Secretary has said before: workers who self-isolate are considered to be on sick leave.

Can he confirm that those who do need to self-isolate will not therefore need to visit a GP to receive a sick note? – because of course the government’s advice is not to present at a GP.”

The Shadow Health Secretary then asked about the government’s policy towards benefit claimants:

“Those who are in receipt of benefits are often asked to physically attend appointments. If they are asked to self-isolate, can he confirm that no financial sanction will be imposed?”

On the subject of workers receiving sick pay for self-isolation, Hancock responded by claiming that:

-- Advertisement --

“[Workers] who do need to self-isolate for medical reasons to protect others – that counts as being off sick. They do not need to go to a GP because there is a 7-day allowance for self-declaration.”

However, Hancock refused to address the question about whether benefit claimants could face sanctions for self-isolating due to coronavirus.

Later on in the same debate, Hancock was again asked the same question by another Labour MP.

Hancock responded by saying it was the government’s “intention” not to sanction benefit claimants who self-isolate – but refused to make any firm commitment that it would not happen.

The Tory Health Secretary also added that he was speaking to the DWP Secretary “frequently” about the issue.

Alison Thewliss, an SNP MP, probed Hancock further asking:

“Could I ask very specifically around the advice to DWP decision-makers. What advice specifically has been circulated within the DWP, and could all elected members get a copy of it just in case any of our constituents find that that advice has not been followed through?”

Hancock responded by saying he would take the issue up with the DWP Secretary.

-- Advertisement --

Evolve needs your help more than ever!

We rely on the generosity of our readers to help fund the majority of our work - but we need a little more to make ends meet and enable us to grow.

If we can reach 1,000 regular subscribers, we will become entirely financially sustainable - and we'll also have a little extra so we can build upwards and outwards to make our work have an even bigger impact.

In the last month alone, our work on the Environment Bill has helped force a change in the law for the better. And, since Evolve was founded, our uniquely viral style of journalism has repeatedly put the establishment on the back foot and helped force genuinely positive progression.

But we want to do far more - and we need your help to do it.

The best way you can help us is by becoming a Monthly or Annual subscriber. This kind of regular income allows us to better plan for the future - firstly so we can pay the bills, and then so we can set aside funds and time to work on extra projects.

However, if you can't commit to a regular payment, one-off donations - no matter how small - also make a big difference to us, and we genuinely make the most of every single penny.

So, if you appreciate the work that Evolve does and you want to see us make an even bigger impact on the world, please think about contributing to our work in whatever way you possibly can.

Tom D. Rogers

Co-Founder, Contributing Editor

Jess Miller

Co-Founder, Contributing Editor

Subscriber-Only Comments