Boris Johnson makes an error about quarantine payments

5 October 2020
What was claimed

People required to self-isolate will receive a support payment of £500 per week.

Our verdict

This is incorrect. People who are eligible for the payment will receive £500 in total, not for each week that they self-isolate.

“£500 if you do [self-isolate], per week, and a £10,000 fine if you don’t.”

Boris Johnson, 5 October 2020

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, got details of the government’s Test and Trace Support payment scheme wrong during an interview on Sky News on Monday.

Mr Johnson said that the payment was £500 “per week”, which is not correct. People required to self-isolate must stay at home for two weeks, but the £500 is described as a “lump sum payment” not a weekly payment by HM Revenue and Customs.

Earlier in the same interview, Mr Johnson had correctly described the support offered. He said: “If you’re told you’ve been in contact with somebody who has the virus, you must self-isolate. There is support of £500 for doing so, and of course a £10,000 fine if you don’t.”

It is correct that eligible people can claim £500 if they have to self-isolate. The £10,000 fine Mr Johnson refers to is the maximum for the worst cases and repeated offences. Fines start at £1,000.

The Test and Trace Support scheme is available to people “on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result”. Just under four million people in England who receive benefits are expected to be eligible.


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