Following the announcement that those returning from Spain must self-isolate for two weeks, Plaid Cymru MS for the Rhondda Leanne Wood has urged the UK Government to consider the practicalities of doing so.
In a letter to the Secretary of State, Plaid Cymru MS Leanne Wood has called on the UK Government to provide financial support to those self-isolating after returning from Spain amidst the change in rules.
Ms Wood notes in the letter that a number of her constituents had raised concerns around the Statutory Sick Pay Scheme (SSP), which those who have returned to UK and are required to self-isolate are not eligible for, despite the rules changing whilst they were away.
The letter emphasises the fact that the UK Government encouraged the use of travel corridors, before leaving workers “vulnerable” with a sudden change of guidance that they should not have had to anticipated.
Ms Wood describes the “below average employment levels and above average poverty levels” in her constituency of the Rhondda, noting that many of the people there “do not have savings” to live off during a two-week isolation period, likely causing some to choose returning to work in order not to fall behind on rent nor going hungry.
In her letter, Plaid Cymru Rhondda MS Leanne Wood urges the Secretary of State to extend the SSP scheme to those returning from Spain under new rules as a minimum, and going further by echoing her Westminster colleague’s calls for a furlough-style scheme “to ensure those who must self-isolate have the means to do so”.
Plaid Cymru MS for the Rhondda, Leanne Wood said: “It is unfair and unrealistic to expect those who were encouraged to use travel corridors to self-isolate for two weeks on their return without financial support as a result of a UK Government u-turn.
“Of course safety should come first, but forcing people to make the impossible choice between going hungry or putting others at risk frankly is not a method for prioritising safety.
“As a minimum I urge the UK Government to extend SSP to provide recompense for workers who must self-isolate upon returning to the UK. However, I echo the calls of my colleagues in Westminster who have proposed a furlough-style scheme to ensure those who must self-isolate have the means to do so.”