‘Unacceptable’ that just one in four Scottish self-isolation grant applications successful
Less than 2,000 people received the Scottish Government’s £500 lifeline payment for those self-isolating up until the end of November, new statistics show.
Just under 7,000 people applied for the grant, designed to help those on low incomes and in insecure work to be able to self-isolate without losing out financially.
However, of those just under 1,900 people were successful – a success rate of 27 per cent, or just over one in four.
He said the grant should be made available to all who are forced to self-isolate in order to improve compliance.
Mr Ruskell said: “The self-isolation support grant is a welcome initiative, but it’s eligibility criteria is incredibly narrow, meaning it simply doesn’t help enough people.
"The government has also failed to put in place the kind of wrap around supporting – providing hotel rooms and support with shopping – that other jurisdictions have.
“Until the bulk of the population is vaccinated we need to ensure that people are supported to self-isolate.
"It’s vital that the Scottish Government makes the self-isolation support grant available to everyone and reviews its whole support package to make self-isolation as straightforward as it possibly can be.”
The success rate of those applying for the grant did improve when comparing October to November, the statistics show, but only marginally.
In October, less than a quarter of applicants (23 per cent) went on to receive the grant, while in November almost a third (29 per cent) received the £500 payment.
The leader of Scottish Labour, Richard Leonard, said it was “unacceptable” people were missing out on the payment.
He said: “It is simply unacceptable that so many people are missing out on this vital payment.
“It is essential that all who need to self-isolate are supported to do so. We cannot have public health measures undermined due to people being forced to flout regulations due to lack of support.
“While it is welcome that the eligibility criteria have been extended, the SNP must get to grips with the support scheme and take action to prevent so many people missing out.
“Today I have called on the SNP Government to ensure that all workers are paid properly to self-isolate. Failure to do so risks allowing the pandemic to continue unabated and will only increase pressure on the NHS.”
The eligibility of the scheme was widened by the Scottish Government at the end of November and high numbers of applications may also be explained by speculative applications and different ways of processing applications.
Speaking at the daily Covid-19 briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said: “That is something that we continue to look at to see if we can extend the eligibility criteria, they were extended on a previous occasion after the grant was introduced and we are actively looking to see if we need to do that again.”
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