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Covid scheme that helped low income workers set to close

The scheme provided help for low earners who could not work because of a positive Covid test (Aaron Chown/PA)
The scheme provided help for low earners who could not work because of a positive Covid test (Aaron Chown/PA)

A scheme set up to give money to low earners after a positive Covid result will close next year, the Scottish Government has announced.

The Self-Isolation Support Grant schemed has paid out £73 million to low income workers who lost earnings during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was the longest assistance project of its kind in the UK, providing help for those earning less than the Real Living Wage – approximately £1,771.25 per month – if they were unable to work following a  positive PCR test, or if they had to care for someone who tested positive for the virus.

More than 150,000 awards were granted over the two years from October 2020 to October 2022.

But the scheme will close to new applicants on January 5 2023 as most people no longer are required to take Covid tests.

The Scottish Government stressed that alternative methods of financial support would continue to be available, such as crisis grants from the Scottish Welfare Fund, as well as help via an alteration to Universal Credit rates and Statutory Sick Pay for absences lasting longer than three days.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The Self-Isolation Support Grant has provided vital help for those who would find it impossible due to their financial circumstances to follow the health guidance to stay at home if unwell.

“This emergency pandemic measure was introduced to support the important role of self-isolation in controlling transmission.

“The stay at home guidance has, since its launch, changed to reflect the prevalence of the virus and actions taken to combat it. We will continue to consider further measures to support those in high risk categories.

“Our Covid-19 vaccination programme has been hugely successful and has enabled us to ensure a safer and sustainable return to normality.”