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Four million eligible for £500 self-isolation payment

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Low income workers required to self-isolate may be eligible for a £500 payment, while those who breach quarantine rules face a maximum fine of £10,000.

As part of the government’s package to ‘support and enforce self-solation’, people required to self-isolate from 28 September may be eligible for a £500 payment, while anyone breaching the law will face a £1,000 fine, rising to up to £10,000.

The £500 self-isolation payment will be available to those in England who meet the following criteria:

  • Told by NHS Test and Trace that they are required to self-isolate
  • Employed or self-employed
  • Unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • Currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-Based Employment and Support Allowance, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

The scheme will be administered by local authorities and will be in place by 12 October. However, the government confirms that for those eligible who self-isolate from 28 September will receive backdated payments.

The fines for not adhering to the self-isolation rules have been brought in line with those issued to people not undertaking quarantine after international travel to ‘at risk’ countries.

It will also apply to those preventing others from self-isolating such as employers who threaten staff with redundancy if they don’t come to work “sending a clear message that this will not be tolerated”.

The government added that a number of steps will be taken to make sure people are complying with the rules, including:

  • NHS Test and Trace call handlers making regular contact with those self-isolating, with suspicion of non-compliance escalated to local authorities and the police
  • Using police resources and intelligence
  • Investigating and prosecuting high-profile and egregious cases of non-compliance
  • Acting on instances where third parties have identified others who have tested positive, but are not self-isolating.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: “The best way we can fight this virus is by everyone following the rules and self-isolating if they’re at risk of passing on coronavirus. And so nobody underestimates just how important this is, new regulations will mean you are legally obliged to do so if you have the virus or have been asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

“People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines. We need to do all we can to control the spread of this virus, to prevent the most vulnerable people from becoming infected, and to protect the NHS and save lives.

“And while most people are doing their absolute level best to comply with the rules, I don’t want to see a situation where people don’t feel they are financially able to self-isolate.

“That’s why we’re also introducing a new £500 Test and Trace Support payment for those on low incomes who are required by NHS Test and Trace to remain at home to help stop the spread of the virus.”

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