Fewer Than A Fifth of Isolation Payments Made By Wandsworth

Over a third of applications have been rejected by the council

Self-isolation payments needed by those unable to work
Self-isolation payments needed by those unable to work

Fewer than 20 percent of people in Wandsworth who applied for £500 payments to help support them in self isolation, have received money from the council.

The figures were revealed in the papers for last Wednesday night’s (3 February) full council meeting in response to a question from councillor Emily Wintle.

They showed that the council has received 1,516 applications for isolation payments and has assessed 1,051 of them. Of these, just 280 have been paid, totalling £140,000. There have been 637 rejections, while 134 have been asked for additional information.

After the meeting, Cllr Graeme Henderson, opposition spokesperson for health, said it was “crucial” people self-isolate to stop the spread of coronavirus and feared too many low-paid workers don’t get the financial support they need to self-isolate.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service, “It’s unbelievable that just 280 people out of 1,516 who applied to Wandsworth council have got a £500 Isolation Payment.

“This system simply isn’t working. It’s forcing people into really tough situations. We need to fix it urgently to help control the spread of this terrible virus.

“A crucial first step is the government offering decent sick pay for people who are required to self-isolate.”

In a written response to the original question, Cllr Rory O’Broin, the cabinet member for finance, said that those rejected had failed to supply one or more of the required pieces of information.

This morning Wandsworth Council clarified that for every application it asks for proof of a person’s most recent full bank statement that shows their name, address and balances. They also need a valid NHS test and trace number.

If an applicant does not have this, the council says it gives them information on how to obtain one, as the information comes from Public Health England and not the council.

An applicant must also have applied within two weeks of their isolation ending and prove loss of earnings as a result of having to self-isolate.

This includes a letter from their employer confirming the loss of earnings for the period in which they have had to self-isolate, or two payslips to cover the period they were self-isolating and a full payslip from before they were self–isolating.

Alternatively they could provide their contract of employment which should show under sickness what they would be entitled to in terms of their salary.

If they are self-employed they must provide their most recent tax return and a statement of why they cannot work from home.

The council says it has put all of this information on its website for people to see before they make their application.

It is also built into the online application form so each relevant section asks the customer to provide the relevant information and to upload it before they can move to the next section.

Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter

February 4, 2021