New £500 grant for people on low incomes self-isolating

The scheme will launch on October 12 with the cash grants administered by councils to those in need.

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A new £500 grant to help people on low incomes who have to self-isolate will be rolled out in mid-October.

Starting from October 12, the cash will be administered by councils through the Scottish Welfare Fund, which already provides community care and emergency grants.

Speaking alongside the First Minister at Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing, social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said it was “essential to act swiftly”.

Somerville said people will need to have been asked to self-isolate through Test and Protect to be eligible for grant.

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It will chiefly be targeted at those who are currently on benefits, but will allow “discretion” for the fund to be extended to those facing other types of financial hardship.

She said the decision to create the fund had been made before the Scottish Government was informed of Barnett consequential funding that would be made available due to a similar scheme run by the UK Government in England.

The social security said: “It is essential that we can act swiftly so that people who need support are able to access it.

“We continue to press the UK Government around consequential funding for the support scheme that they recently announced in England, but given the urgent need to get this scheme up and running in Scotland we have made the decision on our approach in advance of that answer.”

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Nicola Sturgeon said self-isolating is particularly difficult for Scots on low incomes.

The First Minister said she is committed to ensuring no one has to choose between self-isolating or working to be able to afford to live.

Sturgeon said: “The self-isolation support grant will help people on low incomes who will lose money as a result of self-isolation and who therefore might find it financially challenging, or in some cases even impossible, to comply unless they have support.

“The payment is important because, as I stressed yesterday, self-isolation is important.”