£500 to be given to people in Middlesbrough suffering from financial hardship due to self-isolation

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A payment scheme which gives £500 to those suffering financial hardship due to self-isolation has been approved in Middlesbrough. 

Residents who struggle to make ends meet to apply for £500 grants if they can't work from home when self-isolating due to covid. 

Four million people in work and on benefits are eligible for the wider scheme in England. 

Money can be claimed by those receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

But "discretionary payments" are also available for those not on these benefits - with those applying to councils needing to show they are unable to work from home, they will lose income as a result of this, and will face financial hardship from not being able to work. 

It is against the law to not self-isolate if you either test positive for covid-19, or you are a close contact of someone with the virus. Fines from £1,000 to as high as £10,000 can be given out for non-compliance.

Cllr Chris Hobson, executive member for finance, gave Middlesbrough's version of the scheme the green light - adding the council would receive a fixed amount of funding for four months. 

She added: "A single payment of £500 will be made for successful applicants. 

"A claim can be made for each subsequent period of isolation providing they do not overlap."

Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton also have mirror-image schemes to pay £500 to those eligible. 

People will not be eligible for the scheme if they are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless they test positive during the 14-day quarantine period), they continue to receive full wages while self-isolating or can work from home during self-isolation.