Grants worth £500 are being promised by the Scottish government to people who live on low incomes and find themselves needing to self isolate to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
The aim is to provide some financial support to people who could otherwise be struggling for money if they needed to self isolate.
Lots of people in Scotland and across the UK have been able to self isolate while still working from home but there are a great many people who simply cannot do both.
Applications for the £500 grants are set to open on October 12, with people on Universal Credit or legacy benefits the main intended targets of the newly allocated funds.
There will also be some discretion for the grants to be given out to people who aren’t on benefits but who find themselves facing urgent financial hardship because of the need to self isolate.
Funds are to be distributed by local authorities across Scotland, whose representatives have been working with the government to create the mechanisms needed to get the new grants out to people who urgently need that support.
Kelly Parry, a spokesperson for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), has said her organisation welcomes the creation of the new grant scheme.
“It will help ensure those who are affected and qualify are looked after and won’t need to go to work, which will help reduce the community spread of the virus,” she said in a statement.
“Councils have vast experience of providing local support of this type to communities and are the best placed to deliver this measure,” she added.
Social security secretary and MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville said the introduction of the £500 grant is designed to “ensure people do not experience financial hardship as a result of doing the right thing”.
“We want to do everything we can to support people throughout this challenging time and these payments will help ensure people do not have to make a choice between self-isolating and supporting themselves financially,” she said.
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The Scottish government has committed to spending £64 million next year to help people in all parts of the country reduce their energy bills.
Ministers of the UK government have committed to phasing out the £20 uplift in the regular payments made via the Universal Credit system.
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