A COUNCIL has introduced a new discretionary grant for residents ordered to self-isolate because of a positive coronavirus result.

The fund is in addition to the government's main £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.

Blackburn with Darwen Council hopes the new scheme will encourage people to be able to stay at home for the required 10 days if they have received a positive Covid-19 test.

To get the payment residents must have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace; must be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; live in the borough; and have annual earnings of £25,225 or £50,450 or less if a couple.

Parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment if they have to take time off work to care for a child or young person told to self-isolate by the NHS

Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen Council's public health director, said: "We know that self-isolation throws up many challenges to people, with the main one being financial issues.

"Many people who are not able to work from home can find it extremely difficult to isolate for 10 days when they might not have any money coming in.

"This discretionary grant will hopefully provide that extra help for people who would otherwise have struggled, not least because that apart from vaccinations, self-isolation is the biggest defence to control the spread of the virus."