A £500 payment for anyone with a positive Covid test is being considered - here's why

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 9:11 am
Updated Friday, 22nd January 2021, 9:11 am
Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 in England, could receive a payment of £500 (Photo: Shutterstock)
Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 in England, could receive a payment of £500 (Photo: Shutterstock)

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 in England, and therefore has to self-isolate, could receive a payment of £500.

Ministers are currently considering offering the payment as a way of encouraging more people to get a coronavirus test and stay at home if their results are positive.

‘This is a dynamic, fast-moving situation with the pandemic’

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The proposal has been revealed in a leaked policy document, which has been drawn up by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The payment consideration being extended to everyone that needs to self-isolate comes due to concerns that people cannot afford to stay home from work when they are required to do so.

Currently, only people on low incomes or means-tested benefits are eligible for the one-off payment of £500.

However, this excludes many small business owners, self-employed workers and sole traders.

Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky News that the Government has always kept the £500 payment “under review,” but that it is important people self-isolate when they are required to.

He said: “We do need people, if they are asked to self-isolate because they have been contacted through our Test and Trace, we do need them to self-isolate.

“And, obviously, we always review the reasons why they might not.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice told BBC Breakfast that it was "quite challenging" for some people to self-isolate if they were in a financially vulnerable situation and needed to carry on going to work.

Mr Eustice said: "We've got to consider all sorts of policies in order to make sure that people abide by the rules, are able to abide by the rules and we get the infection rate down.

In regards to the extension of the payment, Mr Eustice told Sky that “No decisions have been made on this.

“But, this is a dynamic, fast-moving situation with the pandemic.

“We are always keeping multiple policies under review.”

The new proposal could cost the government £453m a week, equating to £2bn a month.