Mr Durkan has criticised the Discretionary Support scheme currently on offer as well as the Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey for her lackadaisical approach in rectifying clear flaws within the system.
Said the Foyle MLA: “To date Minister Hargey has failed to tackle the many flaws inherent within the Discretionary Support system.
“As we prepare for the very welcome reopening of businesses here, it is inevitable that there will be a need for many workers to self-isolate.
“Despite being lauded by Minister Hargey as a superior alternative to the £500 self-isolation grant available elsewhere on these islands, figures which I obtained on the average Discretionary Support pay-out show that claimants here have been short-changed.
“Now as we prepare for the full reopening of our town centres and a return to some semblance of normality, it is vital that a fit for purpose self-isolation scheme is put in place in preparation for the inevitable rise in infection rates after months of lockdown.
“The funds were ready and available during the latest set of restrictions, yet individuals were made to jump through hoops and were subjected to intrusive interrogations in order to receive support to which they were entitled.
“This convoluted process would explain why the Minister ultimately returned £2 million of unspent funds.
“This is completely unforgivable given that this money would have been a lifeline for so many.
“It is imperative that this time around that a more streamlined, accessible process for self-isolation support is established.
“To that effect I have written to Minister Hargey appealing for this needed provision.”Tags: