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“Meanest Council in England” To Think Again About Covid 19 Payments

January 25, 2021 11:59 AM
By Peter O'Brien

Derbyshire Dales District Council is to hold an emergency meeting to reconsider the way it decides if payments can be paid to residents asked to self-isolate after being told they may have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

In a recent BBC Newsnight programme, the Council was revealed to have only offered a single discretionary Test and Trace Support payment since September 2020.

Last week (21 January) the Conservative Leader of the Council, Councillor Garry Purdy, refused to support calls for a review of the criteria used to determine if people told to stay away from work for 10 days can have a £500 grant. However Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent opposition Councillors have now called an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council, to allow the matter to be fully debated in public. A date for the meeting has yet to be arranged, but officers at the Council have been asked to make it a top priority.

Councillor Peter O'Brien, who represents Abney, Eyam, Grindleford and Hathersage, said " Many of us were quite frankly appalled by the response of the Leader of the Council. To have only made 1 payment since the scheme was introduced over 3 months ago suggests that we may have got it wrong. Many of our residents are in low paid work, and they just can't afford to stay at home for 10 days without some financial support. Refusing to reconsider the criteria for the Council's payments is likely to cause even more financial hardship for many families, and increase the risk of Coronavirus infection spreading further in our communities. People have said we must be the meanest Council in England, and I'm determined to show this is not the case".

Councillors supporting the call for an Extraordinary meeting include

Cllr Steve Wain (Matlock All Saints)
Cllr Claire Raw (Hathersage and Eyam)
Cllr Mike Ratcliffe (Wirksworth)
Cllr Jacqueline Allison (Doveridge and Sudbury)
Cllr Clare Gamble ((Litton and Longstone)
Cllr Peter Slack (Wirksworth) Cllr Martin Burfoot (Matlock All Saints)
Cllr Steve Flitter (Matlock Saint Giles)
Cllr David Hughes (Matlock Saint Giles)
Cllr Sue Burfoot (Matlock All Saints)
Cllr Martin Burfoot (Matlock All Saints)
Cllr Paul Cruise (Matlock Saint Giles)
Cllr Rob Archer (Ashbourne South)