Harrow Council has confirmed it is making funding available to help its least well off residents cope with the cost of self-isolation.
This commitment means many more Harrow people will now qualify for a much needed £500 should they be instructed to stay at home by NHS Test and Trace.
All low earners likely to qualify for £500 support. 16 to 18-year-olds get £300 incentive payment.
The council’s cash commitment also opens up payments to the unemployed and self-employed.
The scheme launches as up to 100,000 young people and their families in Harrow take part in surge testing to stop the spread of the new variant first discovered in India.
Parents on low incomes who have to stay at home to care for self-isolating children can also claim, even if they are able to work.
Their children will receive a £25 book token.
To incentivise the age group in which the new variant is most likely to spread undetected, young people aged 16 to 18 will receive £300.
Further information about eligibility criteria and how to apply can be found on our NHS Test and Trace Support Payment page.
Cllr Krishna Suresh, Harrow Council’s Cabinet Member for Equalities and Public Health, said: “Every one of us must take personal responsibility for stopping Covid’s spread. Self-isolation is the best way and we all have a legal and moral duty to comply when instructed.
“We are currently carrying out a massive surge test in secondary schools to help stop the spread of the new variant. It will only be successful if those who test positive or are contacted by the Test & Trace service, self-isolate.
“For those whose financial position is most precarious, we know that loss of earnings while self-isolating presents a real dilemma – for too many it is proving too high a barrier.
“These payments are both a safety net and an incentive and I believe will help many more people to do the right thing.”
The new scheme, initially run as a six-week pilot, enhances an existing Government programme only available to people receiving in-work benefits, such as Universal Credit.
The expectation is that all low earners will now qualify for the Harrow support payment, providing their individual annual income is less than £30,000.
Unemployed residents required to self-isolate can also use the scheme and will qualify for a £500 incentive payment if they do not have significant savings.
Applicants to the scheme will be asked to provide documentary evidence of their financial position and evidence of contact from NHS Test and Trace or relevant education institution.
Source: Harrow Council