A BUSINESSMAN from Bury is among those facing tough choices after the shock announcement over quarantine requirements for holidaymakers returning from Spain.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Cabinet have defending themselves after a huge outcry over the revelation, insisting 'no travel is risk-free' in a pandemic.

But travellers like Craig Cowgill, who runs a small business locally, faces losing out on pay if he opts to press ahead with his break to Gran Canaria on Thursday.

He says he will "have to still come in or not get paid" upon his return to the UK.

Mr Cowgill added: "I don't know what to do at this moment. I'm hoping Jet2 will offer a refund or the Government change the quarantine from the islands.

"I can understand about Spain, but they say it's safe where we are going, so why quarantine us then?

"It's either one or the other - (you) can't send people, then ask them to quarantine and not offer refunds."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady has called for sick pay to be increased and said "no one should suffer financially for following official advice to quarantine".

She added: "It's not holidaymakers' fault that the guidance has changed. Wherever possible, employers should do the right thing and pay quarantined workers their full pay.

"The Government must also make it clear that people who can't work from home during quarantine will be eligible for statutory sick pay.

"And they should increase sick pay from £95 a week to at least the level of the 'real living wage' of £320 a week.

"In addition, ministers should change the law to stop employers from sacking quarantined workers."

Downing Street said its move to enforce a 14-day quarantine on holidaymakers returning from Spain was "announced straight away" after a decision was taken based on new data on case numbers.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We got new data from the Spanish health ministry on Friday and that showed that new cases reported across the Thursday and Friday were 75 per cent higher than those reported on the previous two days.

"This pace of increase, together with the high seven-day case rate for Spain and the picture of increasing cases across most regions, represented a significant change.

"In response, Public Health England and the Joint Biosecurity Centre decided to undertake an urgent review and they updated ministers at a meeting on Saturday, and in light of that significant change ministers agreed urgent action was needed to protect the health of the UK public. The change to our policy was announced straight away."

Minister say holidaymakers who miss out on work because of the quarantine period may be eligible for Universal Credit or employment support allowance but not statutory sick pay.

The government expects employers to be "flexible" in allowing staff to work from home while self-isolating.

And pressed on whether ministers would review statutory sick pay eligibility, the Prime Minister's spokesman said: "We always keep our response to the pandemic under review and we regularly assess the support available but there is support available for those in need."

No 10 has also said anyone who lost their jobs because they were self-isolating upon their return could appeal to the conciliation service Acas.