Said the Foyle MLA: “We remain the only devolved administration not to offer this crucial grant.
“By making self-isolation financially unviable we run the risk of putting people in the desperate situation of choosing between protecting others from the risk of Covid-19 or providing for themselves and their families.
“Having chased the Department for an answer to my urgent tabled question, they have at last responded with a vague acknowledgement that the grant will remain ‘under review’ and signposting instead to the Discretionary Support Grant.
“This non-repayable living expense grant, which I have no doubt has helped many throughout the pandemic, has marked limitations.
“Most notably the eligibility criteria states that a household can not earn in excess of £20,400, locking many families out of critical financial assistance.
“People cannot afford dither and delay when it comes to self-isolation support, this is something which needs introduced with immediate effect – as has been the case in England, Scotland and Wales.
“It would now appear the North will lose out on this important scheme.
“The circuit breaker has placed Northern Ireland under some of the most stringent restrictions on these islands.
“People who are doing the right thing by self-isolating to prevent the spread of the virus should not have to do so to the detriment of their finances.”