Government will pay people on low incomes to stay at home if they test positive for coronavirus

People on low incomes asked to self-isolate because they or a contact have tested positive for coronavirus will be paid to stay at home, under plans announced by the government.

The new means-tested benefit, which will only be paid to people in designated outbreak areas, is worth up to £182 for a 14-day isolation period and is being introduced with the aim of ensuring people can afford to miss out on work.

But local government leaders warned that the payments were not generous enough to compensate for income lost through self-isolation.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the payment “goes nowhere near far enough”, adding people need “full pay”.

And the Labour leader of Pendle Council, Mohammed Iqbal, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I welcome the fact that there is a financial package in place but the figures that the government have introduced are really a slap in the face for those people who sadly test positive.

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