The Covid Self-Isolation grant has been extended to more people on low incomes.
The grant will be available to workers earning the Real Living Wage or less, as well as those in receipt of a council tax reduction because of low income. People with caring responsibilities for someone over 16 who is asked to self-isolate, where the carer themselves meet the other eligibility criteria, can also get the payment. The Scottish Government is also lengthening the period during which people can apply for the grant – they will now be able to apply within 28 days of being told to self-isolate.
The changes will take effect from 16 February to allow local authorities time to change their systems and application forms, but eligibility will be backdated to 2 February. This means an additional 200,000 people will be eligible for the grant if they are asked to self-isolate.
The Scottish Government also plans to roll-out asymptomatic testing for everyone along with further controls for quarantine. It’s hoped both measures will limit further spread of current strains and prevent the introduction of new strains.
Commenting, South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine said,
“I’m delighted that the self-isolation grant of £500 will be made available to more people, including those earning below the minimum living wage. This will be especially beneficial for people who live in Dumfries & Galloway as wages here are on average lower than everywhere else in Scotland.
“Supporting people to self-isolate is vital to break chains of transmission. This announcement should encourage more people to self-isolate as they know they won’t be forced to stay at home without an income.
“I’m also very pleased that routine testing for people without Covid symptoms is to be expanded across the region. I’ve been calling for more testing of asymptomatic people to be made available since early last summer and I am glad to see it increasing all the time. The new measures mean tests will be available to everyone in their local area, whether they have symptoms or not. Until now people in the community could only access tests if they had symptoms such as a cough, temperature or loss of taste or smell.
“The expansion of the quarantine programme is welcome news too – some of the new strains being identified across the world are very worrying so we must do what we can to stop them entering Scotland.”
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