A SINGLE mother says she was given no support after being unable to work while caring for her 10-year-old son who was sent home from school due to a coronavirus outbreak.

Danielle Smith, 30 from Ewood in Blackburn, said that she had been told by Blackburn with Darwen Council that because she herself was not self-isolating she would not be able to apply for a self-isolation grant.

However, Ms Smith, who works in a children’s home in Bury, she says she cannot leave son Jenson at home alone in order to return to her job and that he will not be able to return to school until November 4.

She said: “This is discrimination, the government are not thinking about single parents who are forced to take the time off.”

Official policy with regards to self-isolating states that parents should still have access to support if they are forced to take time off to care for their children if they are told to do so by the NHS.

However, in Ms Smith’s case she was told that her son Jenson, rather than she herself, would need to self-isolate and as such she would have to care for him, having already used up her holiday and sick leave in the summer to do so previously.

Explaining the sequence of events, she said: “I received an email Friday to say that my child has to isolate because someone in his school texted positive for Covid.

“I'm now being forced to take time of work to take care off him because he can’t leave the house.

"But I’ve been told by the local council office that I can’t apply for self-isolation grant as it's not me that has to isolate it's my child, so no support’s been given.”

When Ms Smith approached the council for support she was told to seek help from the NHS only to be told in turn to go back to the council again by the NHS, leaving her still unable to work and with no self-isolation support.

She said: “What am I meant to do leave a 10-year-old home alone all day to go to work, when I don’t even work in the same town?”

Friends of Ms Smith have supported her claims with many saying that they have faced similar problems.

Michelle Goodwin said: “I had to isolate the other week losing money and now again for the next two weeks and I can’t claim it as it's not via track and trace.”

Leah Morris added: “I’m in the same boat, having to isolate but not being told about track and trace just told to call 111, it’s a joke!”

Another friend having trouble was Laura Ashton Craig.

She said: "Its an absolute joke, I had to have a month off due to actually having it but because I fell ill before 28th I don't qualify.

"Absolutely broke, I was fuming!"

Due to concerns that there may be many more people in similar situations, Ms Smith has now raised the issue with Blackburn MP Kate Hollern, who has confirmed that this is not the first such case that has occurred and has pledged to bring the issue to the government’s attention.

Mrs Hollern said: "Complying with instructions to self-isolate should not push people and their families into hardship.

"Everyone wants to do the right thing and they should be enabled to self-isolate when required through financial support where it is needed.

“I have been in contact with the council and have asked officers to take a look at Danielle’s case to ensure she receives the right support.”

The council has now also responded to Ms Smith's case.

Councillor Vicky McGurk, Executive Member for Finance and Governance, said: “We of course sympathise with Ms Smith and other single parents who, under current Government legislation, are not eligible for self-isolation support. 

"I agree that the Government haven’t considered people in her position and we are constantly raising these issues with them and lobbying for the proper support for everyone that needs it. 

"For anyone experiencing financial hardship or reduced income, we would suggest accessing the council’s advice service, which is delivered by Shelter, or making an application for universal credit, which may go some way to helping ease the financial burden at this time.”