Council launches £500 payment scheme for self-isolaters

    man wearing face mask

    Lambeth council today (29 March) launched a Covid self-isolation support service, including payments of up to £500 for low-income residents told to stay at home.

    The council said the support package will use its local expertise to ensure residents are supported financially. It will also work with Age UK Lambeth to deliver practical advice and support.

    The £500 payment scheme is designed to fill gaps in the government’s existing Test and Trace Support Payment that may exclude some Lambeth residents because of its strict eligibility requirements.

    Council payments are also available to parents or guardians of children who cannot attend school or nursery due to staff shortages, as well as carers for those with learning difficulties.

    The council said it hoped that the range of support options will enable more people to follow guidelines which will further drive down Covid transmission rates in the borough.

    The package includes:

    • The Stay Home support payment will provide low-income residents with a payment of up to £500 to offset financial losses if they cannot go to work.
    • Age UK Lambeth is also delivering a Stay Home safely support service to provide rapid practical and emotional support. This will include arranging deliveries of groceries, food and medicine and help with dog walking and benefit assistance.
    • Lambeth council will also broker hotel accommodation for a small number of eligible residents who cannot self-isolate at home due to a lack of space or who are in proximity to vulnerable members of their household.

    Cllr Jim Dickson, Lambeth joint council cabinet member for health and social care, said: “This is the most comprehensive support package offered by a local authority and is aimed at easing the financial burden on residents when they need it most.

    “The £500 payment could be a lifeline for some households who would face up to 10 days without income if they cannot work from home.

    “We are also grateful to Age UK Lambeth for its support and lending its local expertise to support some of our most vulnerable residents.”

    Government figures suggest that people who earn less than £20,000 a year, are in casual or insecure employment, or who have less than £100 in savings are the least likely to self-isolate.

    The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) says that 80 per cent of the close contacts for each person with Covid would need to isolate to control the spread.

    In Lambeth there have been 21,400 positive cases recorded and a further 23,000 close contacts have been told to self-isolate since October 2020.

    The new support package is the latest localised service offered by Lambeth council in response to the pandemic.

    Since the start of March, the borough has also taken on contact tracing with all those who test positive for Covid in the borough under the Local 0 pilot scheme.

    The council has also conducted two enhanced testing programmes in two areas of Lambeth after new Covid-19 variants were detected.

    Cllr Dickson said: “We firmly believe that we are best placed to deliver this kind of support.

    “There are many areas of the existing government provision that we feel we can improve on to better support our residents.

    “Being told to self-isolate can cause a lot of anxiety and we hope that by introducing the new support scheme we can alleviate some of the financial and practical pressures.

    “That will enable people to fully isolate, reduce transmission and limit the spread of Covid-19 in our borough.”

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