A proposal to gove everyone who tests positive for coronavirus a £500 in a one-off payment is being reviewed.
In a move to persuade more people to get a test and self-isolate after a positive result.
The plan being considered by ministers follows research that suggested only 17% of people with Covid-19symptoms come forward to get a test because they fear losing their income if they stop working.
The proposal, which would cost the government a massive £453m a week or £2bn a month, is revealed in a leaked 16-page policy document drawn up by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
“Wanting to avoid self-isolation is now the biggest reported barrier to requesting a test,” the document’s is said to claim, adding that only one in four people self-isolate for the full 10 days and 15% carry on going to work.
In an interview with Sky News, this moring cabinet minister George Eustice said “no decisions have been made on this”, but added: “This is a dynamic fast-moving situation with the pandemic. We’re always keeping multiple policies under review.”
The environment secretary said the government had “always recognised if you ask people to self-isolate through contact-tracing, they’ve been in contact with someone who’s had the virus, that is a financial challenge for some”.
“That’s why we’ve always had a £500 payment for those who qualify for certain benefits,” Mr Eustice said.
“I’m not going to comment on this particular paper, but we’ve always kept it under review…”