South Holland council chiefs hail Covid cash support for workers
Council chiefs say that South Holland's extra Covid cash from the Government will help workers most at risk from infection.
The area was today revealed to be in a pilot scheme, which was launched to help areas where rates remain 'stubbornly high'. In South Holland, figures are consistently above the national average, with the current rate at 35.8 per 100,000 compared to a national average of 23.2.
The district will share £2.6 million with Peterborough and Fenland over the next three months.
South Holland District Council said the money will be spent on:
- increased job security for employees in the food production and packaging/warehouse sectors. The council explained: "Many employees fear they will lose their jobs if they self-isolate. We will work with key agencies such as the Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), engage with agencies and employers to support them to increase job security for workers self-isolating."
- ‘safe’ transport for travel to work. The council said: "We will pilot a limited network of COVID-safe public transport links across South Holland, Peterborough, and Fenland for the transportation of those living in rural areas to the workplaces that we are targeting."
- improving accessibility to the £500 test and trace support payments as well as potentially providing additional payments in some circumstances where there is financial hardship. Unions had previously called for this extra support for our district.
Councillor Anthony Casson, the council's portfolio holder for public protection, said: “We know that in South Holland, Covid-19 cases at times have been higher among front line workers such as those workers who are in the food production, manufacturing and packaging and warehousing sectors. These workers don’t have the opportunity to work from home, therefore they are at much greater risk. The summer months especially in the food chain industries will create seasonal pressures for employers who rely on temporary workers.
“We also know some workers, particularly temporary or agency workers, may be fearful of testing or self-isolation due to concerns of losing income or employment. Other risk factors linked to these employee groups can include living in shared accommodation and travelling to work in shared transport, both of which can increase the risk of Covid spreading.
“This pilot scheme will hopefully give these workers greater confidence in getting tested and give them the confidence to let their employer know that they have tested positive and to self-isolate if needed. It should also allow us to support employees to access safer travel arrangements.”
The council will now work with selected employers to put the plans into place as soon as possible.