A £500 payment scheme to help people who have to self-isolate is to start from October 12.

Nicola Sturgeon has said the Self-Isolation Support Grant, targeted at those on low incomes, is an “important” way of helping people who are helping others.

The money is for people who are on modest wages and cannot work from home, or for those who receive Universal Credit or legacy benefits.

Payments will be made through the existing Scottish Welfare Fund, which is administered by local authorities.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Self-isolation can be tough, but it is essential to protect people and reduce the spread of coronavirus.

“To ensure people do not experience financial hardship as a result of doing the right thing, we are introducing this new £500 grant for people on low incomes who have been told to self-isolate.

“We want to do everything we can to support people throughout this challenging time and these payments will help ensure people do not have to make a choice between self-isolating and supporting themselves financially.

“While we continue to press the UK Government for clarity around consequential funding for the support scheme they recently announced, it is essential that we act swiftly so that people who need support are able to access it.

“I am glad that the scheme has the support of local authorities and that we have a means of delivering it from next month.”

Cosla community wellbeing spokeswoman, councillor Kelly Parry, said: “Cosla, on behalf of Scottish local government, welcomes this scheme.

“It will help ensure those who are affected and qualify are looked after and won’t need to go to work, which will help reduce the community spread of the virus.

“Councils have vast experience of providing local support of this type to communities and are the best placed to deliver this measure. We are keen to agree the details with the Scottish Government as soon as possible and look forward to getting much-needed support to the people who need it.”

The Scottish Welfare Fund was set up in April 2013 to provide crisis grants to people facing an emergency or disaster, and community care grants to help people establish or maintain a home in the community.