By Francesca Ionescu | Contributor
Two weeks ago, the Welsh Government introduced a grant of £500 for those who have to self-isolate due to a positive COVID-19 test or being contacted by track and trace schemes. The applicants also must not be able to work from home during the two-week isolation period. This has however, raised concerns about carers for those who need to self-isolate, especially for low income parents. Public Health Wales has reported that at the beginning of November, 39% of primary schools recorded at least one case, and 82% of secondary school, which would mean almost half of children aged 4-11 would have been in contact with a positive case. Authorities did state that the number of cases does not mean the pupils contacted the virus in the school in the first place.
According to the NSPCC children under the age of 12 should not be left alone for long periods of time, and those under 16 should not be left alone overnight; this creates difficulty for single parents whose children have to self-isolate. Single parents have reportedly been struggling to find carers, especially if their support bubble is someone at risk or someone living too far away. This leaves them with only one option, to miss work and stay home to care for the self-isolating child.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that the number of people living in poverty in Wales had almost doubled since Coronavirus, and that includes around 180,000 children. Many people in deprived areas have jobs that can’t be done remotely, according to Ellie Hardwood , from the Child Poverty Action Group. COVID-19 seems to have exacerbated these issues.
Leanne Wood, equality spokesman for Plaid Cymru has spoken out about how the grant should be extended to parents in need, and that the only proof they should have to present would be the self-isolation record for the child.
A welsh government spokeswoman said that the grant is still under review.twitter Follow @gairrhyddpol for all of the latest updates from the world of politics.