Grants for people in Wales on low pay who are told to self-isolate will rise from £500 to £750 from this weekend.

The cash is to support those who cannot work from home, as well as parents and carers with children who have tested positive and are self-isolating.

The increase will take effect from 7 August, Welsh ministers said.

On the same day, fully vaccinated adults will no longer be required to self-isolate after close contact with a positive Covid case.

People will be told to isolate by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect (TTP) service if they have tested positive, have symptoms of coronavirus or are a close contact of someone testing positive and have not been fully vaccinated.

The self-isolation payment scheme has been extended until March 2022 and is administered by local authorities.

Finance and Local Government Minister Rebecca Evans said more than 14,518 support payments had been made since last November.

“These payments are vital and the increase to £750 will provide further reassurance to anyone who has been told to isolate by TTP but may experience financial hardship as a result of having to stay at home,” she said.

“Further advice has been given to local authorities on how they can provide practical help and support to applicants as they apply for the payment.”

The increase in the payment will be reviewed in three months.

‘Extremely overdue move’

Welsh Conservative finance spokesman Peter Fox called it a “welcome increase for the lowest paid in society, made possible by the £8.6bn of Covid-19 support provided by the UK Conservative government to the Welsh government”.

“It’s hard enough dealing with self-isolation without the added financial pressures, and I’m pleased to see the Welsh government using the funding available to support hardworking people,” he added.

Rhun ap Iorwerth, who speaks for Plaid Cymru on health, said his party had been calling for an increase in self-isolation payments since last October “so this is a welcome yet extremely overdue move”.

“Fear of financial hardship is a huge barrier to effective self-isolation, and so raising the level of support is an undoubtedly crucial step in tackling the pandemic,” he said.

How does the scheme work?

People can apply for the support payment online, providing evidence they meet the eligibility criteria.

The payment is available for people who are unable to work from home and are receiving benefits, including universal credit and housing benefit.

The grant is also available on a discretionary basis for those not receiving benefits but who will suffer financial hardship by self-isolating.