Residents on low incomes in Lambeth who need to self-isolate and cannot work as a result can now apply to the council for payments of up to £500. 

Lambeth Council launched a Covid-19 self-isolation support service this week with the aim of helping people struggling financially and is working with Age UK to give practical advice.  

According to the local authority, the £500 payment scheme is aimed at “filling gaps in the government’s existing Test and Trace Support Payment that may exclude some Lambeth residents due to the strict eligibility requirements”. 

Money is also available to parents or guardians of children who cannot attend school or nursery due to staff shortages as well as carers for those with learning difficulties. 

Government figures suggest those who earn less than £20,000, are in casual or insecure employment, or have less than £100 in savings are the least likely to self-isolate. 

The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has advised that 80 percent of the close contacts for each person with Covid-19 would need to isolate to control the spread. 

In Lambeth there have been 21,400 positive cases recorded and a further 23,000 close contacts have been told to self-isolate since October 2020. 

The council, which became the first in the UK to bring contact tracing in-house last month, hopes that by introducing the news support scheme more people will follow the guidelines, which would further drive down Covid-19 transmission rates in the borough. 

Lambeth’s joint cabinet member for health and social care, Cllr Jim Dickson, said: “This is the most comprehensive support package offered by a local authority and is aimed at easing the financial burden on residents when they need it most. 

“The £500 payment could be a lifeline for some households who would face up to ten days without income if they cannot work from home. 

“We are also grateful to Age UK Lambeth for its support and lending its local expertise to support some of our most vulnerable residents. 

“We firmly believe that we are best placed to deliver this kind of support. There are many areas of the existing government provision that we feel we can improve on to better support our residents. 

“Being told to self-isolate can cause a lot of anxiety and we hope that by introducing the new support scheme we can alleviate some of the financial and practical pressures.”