The government has announced a support payment of £500 for lower-income earners required to self-isolate and new fines for those breaching the rules.

A support payment of £500 will be available for people on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income. There are also new fines for those breaching self-isolation orders starting at £1,000 and increasing up to £10,000 for repeat offences.

From 28 September those people on lower incomes required to self-isolate will be eligible for the Test and Trace Support payment of £500 to help defer costs. The government says it is in recognition that self-isolation is "one of the most powerful tools for controlling the transmission of Covid-19". It adds that just under 4 million people who are in receipt of benefits in England will be eligible for this payment. From 22 October 2020 new legislation provides that these payments will be exempt from Class 1 and Class 1A national insurance contributions.

The increased fines of to £10,000 specifically include those who prevent others from self-isolating including business owners who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work.

A number of steps will be taken to make sure that people are complying with the rules:

  • NHS Test and Trace call handlers making regular contact with those self-isolating, with the ability to escalate any suspicion of non-compliance to Local Authorities and local police.
  • Using police resources to check compliance in highest incidence areas and in high-risk groups, based on local 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.

Local Authorities will administer the self-isolation support schemes and are expected to be in place by 12 October. Those who start to self-isolate from 28 September will receive backdated payments once the scheme is set up in their Local Authority.

This financial support comes as the government places a legal requirement on people to self-isolate when instructed to by NHS Test and Trace and introduces tougher fines for breaking the rules.

Links

COVID-19: Government support tracker
This tracker covers measures announced by the government to support individuals and businesses, as we get through COVID-19.

External link

Press Release: New package to support and enforce self-isolation

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