Low paid workers in parts of England with high rates of Covid-19 cases will be given £13 a day if they are required to self-isolate, as part of a trial launched by the government.
From Tuesday, those claiming Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit and are unable to work from home will be able to claim up to £182.
The trial will begin in Blackburn, which has seen its jump in cases lead to tighter lockdown measures.
Employed or self-employed workers who test positive and are required to isolate for 10 days will be able to claim £130, but members of their household who must isolate for 14 days will be able to claim £182.
The benefit is equivalent to statutory sick pay, but Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham told the BBC it “goes nowhere near far enough”. Thousands of workers have struggled financially during the Covid-19 pandemic because self-isolating does not entitle them to statutory sick pay, leaving many unable to earn any income for two weeks.
The Department of Health said the payment will be rolled out “quickly” to other parts of the UK that see a spike in cases.
“Self-isolating if you have tested positive for Covid-19, or have come into contact with someone who has, remains vital to keeping on top of local outbreaks,” said health secretary Matt Hancock.
He added that the payment comes as a result of feedback from the NHS Test and Trace system, and means people “don’t lose out by doing the right thing”.
Mr Burnhamd responded: “I am pleased they [government] have at last acknowledged this issue but am sorry to say this move goes nowhere near far enough.”
“The health secretary has already said that he couldn’t live on Statutory Sick Pay at £95 a week. So how can an announcement like this work?”