No10 says ‘no plans’ for £500 for all who test positive for Covid to boost self-isolation


owning Street has said there are “no plans” for a new £500 payment to everyone who tests positive for Covid-19 to encourage them to self-isolate. 

Ministers signalled on Friday that some further measures may be announced to increase self-isolation rates but the Treasury is believed to have had concerns that the £500 extra payment could have had “perverse incentives”. 

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “There are no plans to introduce an extra £500 payment.

 “We already offer a £500 payment to support those on low incomes who cannot work from home. 

“We have given local authorities £70 million for this scheme and they are able to provide extra payments on top of those £500 if they think it is necessary.” 

Some people are also eligible for statutory sick pay if they have to self-isolate due to coronavirus. 

Scientists had welcomed the suggestion of more financial support to self-isolate but Treasury sources were adamant the plan would not go ahead, with one saying: “Won’t happen.”

 Environment Secretary George Eustice, though, signalled that more steps could be taken to encourage people to self-isolate. 

He told Sky News: “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.” 

Dr Mike Tildesley, from the Government’s Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M), said that “one of the key problems” in combating Covid was ensuring enough people were self-isolating.

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 “Some kind of support for people so they can see through their isolation is actually pretty important, so that we really do get on top of these numbers,” he told Times Radio.


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