The British government are considering giving everyone who tests positive for coronavirus a one-off payment of £500, according to a new leaked document.
The potential move from the government was revealed in a leaked document from the Department of Health which shows a number of suggestions which aim to encourage more people to self-isolate after testing positive.
The plan, which will be discussed by ministers, comes after recent research suggested only 17% of people with Covid-19 symptoms go to get a test, as many fear missing out on income if they are told to stop working.
At current, there is already a £500 grant for those who test positive and are on a low income but the Labour Party recently claimed the rejection levels have been high for many applicants.
The 16-page policy document was drawn up by Department of Health and Social Care, and claim that “wanting to avoid self-isolation is now the biggest reported barrier to requesting a test.”
The proposal is also described as the department’s “preferred position”, and states that: “Anyone who tested positive for coronavirus irrespective of their age, employment status or ability to work from home, would be eligible for a TTSP (Test and Trace Support Payment).
“This would be straightforward for local authorities to administer, though it would lead to significantly greater volumes of applications than under the current scheme.”
Speaking to Sky News this morning (January 22), cabinet minister George Eustice said “no decisions have been made on” the proposal, adding that the government are “always keeping multiple policies under review.”
A DHSC spokesman said: “We are in one of the toughest moments of this pandemic and it is incumbent on all of us to help protect the NHS by staying at home and following the rules.
“All local authorities costs for administering the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme are covered by the government, and each authority is empowered to make discretionary payments outside of the scheme.
“£50m was invested when the scheme launched, and we are providing a further £20m to help support people on low incomes who need to self-isolate.
“We also recognise the impact of the pandemic on people’s mental health and wellbeing which is why mental health services have remained open throughout the pandemic.”