Workers on low incomes who need to self isolate will be eligible for a £500 payment from next Monday.
The payout will be awarded to those that have tested positive for coronavirus or who are required by NHS Test and Trace to remain at home and who cannot work, thereby losing income.
New fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000 – bringing this in line with the penalty for breaking quarantine after international travel - but could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for the most egregious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating.
For example, this could include business owners who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work, sending a clear message that this will not be tolerated.
To ensure compliance with the rules NHS Test and Trace call handlers will be making regular contact with those self-isolating, with the ability to escalate any suspicion of non-compliance to Local Authorities and local police.
Just under 4 million people who are in receipt of benefits in England will be eligible for this payment, once the scheme is set up from 12th October. Those who start to self-isolate from 28th September will be able to apply for backdated payments.
This financial support comes as the government places a legal requirement on people to self-isolate when instructed to by NHS Test and Trace and introduces tougher fines for breaking the rules.
The Prime Minister said many people are following the rules around self-isolation, but these steps will make sure more do and help ensure the public do not unknowingly spread the virus.
He comments: “The best way we can fight this virus is by everyone following the rules and self-isolating if they’re at risk of passing on coronavirus. And so nobody underestimates just how important this is, new regulations will mean you are legally obliged to do so if you have the virus or have been asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace.
“People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines. We need to do all we can to control the spread of this virus, to prevent the most vulnerable people from becoming infected, and to protect the NHS and save lives.
“And while most people are doing their absolute level best to comply with the rules, I don’t want to see a situation where people don’t feel they are financially able to self-isolate.
“That’s why we’re also introducing a new £500 Test and Trace Support payment for those on low incomes who are required by NHS Test and Trace to remain at home to help stop the spread of the virus.”