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Boris Johnson has rejected plans to pay people £500 to help them self-isolate if they catch coronavirus.
The prime minister’s spokesperson said on Friday that the government had no plans to introduce the payments.
The decision comes after a leaked document from Matt Hancock’s department of health revealed that the policy was being looked at.
Asked about the leak, the spokesperson said: “There are no plans to introduce an extra £500 payment. We already offer a £500 payment to support those on low income who cannot work from home.”
Ministers are concerned that people may not be self-isolating when asked to because they need to keep working to pay the bills.
Existing support payments to help people self-isolate are limited to those claiming Universal Credit and who cannot work from home.
The alternative proposals, spelled out in an official options paper, would have seen the payments extended to anyone testing positive, at a cost of £453 million a week to the Treasury.
Figures show that around three quarters of those who apply for the current self-isolation grant are rejected because of its narrow scope. Its as been paid to just 12,069 people out of 49,877 who applied, according to official figures publicised by Labour.
The government slightly improved statutory sick pay at the start of the pandemic, but it is still among the very lowest rates in Europe at just £95.85 a week, and is not available to all workers.
Ministers said support for people self-isolating was always kept under review.
People who make contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus are meant to self-isolate for 10 days to prevent them from spreading the virus to others.