Majority of self-isolation grant applications rejected

Applications for the payment opened in October last year.

Majority of self-isolation grant applications rejected iStock

The majority of applications for the Scottish Government’s self-isolation support grant have been rejected, according to official figures.

Applications for the £500 payment opened in October last year aimed at helping low-income workers asked to self-isolate who could face financial hardship as a result.

However, statistics published by the Scottish Government indicate that only 39% of the total number of applications since the scheme opened were awarded.

It is despite the cost of the scheme running to just over £5.6m between October and May this year.

Of the 29,311 applications to the scheme since it began, there has been only 11,331 awards.

In October, the first month of the Grant, 23% (708 of 3065) of applications were awarded, at a total expenditure of £354,000.

The following month, the number of applications increased to 4053, with 29% of those (1177) awarded, at a cost of £588,500.

In December, there were 1278 awards from a total of 3778 (34%) applications. The cost for December came to £639,000.

At the beginning of the year in January, 31% of applications (1714) were awarded out of (5459), an expenditure of £857,000.

The rate of awards for the scheme in February was 42%, with 1690 applications awarded from a total of 4031, with an £845,000 expenditure.

In March 2021, the expenditure reached its highest point since the start of the scheme at just over £1m, as 52% (2189) of applications were awarded out of a total of 4176.

The following month, the number of applications saw a significant drop to 2216, with 1276 awards (58%) with expenditure of £638,000.

In the most recent month, in May, there was a 51% rate of awards to applications, with 1299 awarded out of 2533 applications, at expenditure of £649,000.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “From the introduction of the Self-Isolation Support Grant last October to the end of May 2021, local authorities have now paid a total of £5.7 million through around 11,300 individual awards.

“Spending on the Self-Isolation Support Grant is dependent on the spread of the virus, and the number of people who are required to self-isolate. 

“We have made it clearer for workers to establish if they may be eligible for the Self-isolation Support Grant by providing more information, including monthly earnings thresholds.”

Scottish Conservative social justice spokesperson Miles Briggs said: “As we continue to see Covid cases increasing in Scotland, it is crucial SNP Ministers ensure that people have access to the right support, especially when they have to self-isolate.

“SNP Ministers must be open and upfront as to the reasons why so many applications to this critical fund are being routinely rejected.

“Instead of continuing to demand more social security powers from the UK Government, the SNP should focus on ensuring that this fund is running as effectively as possible and that people know that they will be able to turn to it to access further support.”