Just over a week ago, following the First Minister’s statement in the Scottish Parliament chamber on further Covid-19 restrictions, I highlighted reports of people being asked by contact tracers to self-isolate, and having to choose between ignoring that request, going to work and so risking spreading the virus – or losing their pay.

The First Minister agreed with me that we cannot expect people to choose between self-isolating for the greater good and, because they have done that, being unable to pay the rent or feed their families, and as she, rightly, pointed out, people will not comply if that is the case, so it is important that we provide support.

The First Minister’s stated preference for supporting people rather penalising them, accords with my own view and I am really pleased that details have now been announced of a package of support introducing £500 support grants for people on lower incomes who have to self-isolate and face a loss of income as a result.

Details of the scheme were made available in the last week and I would urge anyone who finds themselves in a position where they think they might benefit from the support on offer, to do so.

This grant will be targeted at people who are in receipt of Universal Credit or legacy benefits, with some discretion to make awards to others in financial hardship.

Applications are due to open from 12 October and will be delivered through the existing Scottish Welfare Fund, which is administered by local authorities.

I know that self-isolation can be tough, but it is essential to protect people and reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The Scottish Government wants to do everything possible 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.

Meanwhile, it is important that 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.

With the impact of the pandemic tightening rather than easing, this is not the time for people to be forced, unnecessarily, back into the workplace.

A recent survey revealed that more than four in 10 small and medium businesses think they will have a smaller workforce in December than they did in September, and a quarter think they might go out of business next year if there is a second wave of Covid-19.

The UK government must perform an urgent U-turn, reinstate a full job protection scheme, and devolve financial powers to the Scottish Parliament so we can protect our economy,

We shouldn't have to wait for Westminster to act while the livelihoods of people are on the line. If the Tories won't act now to save thousands of Scottish jobs they will demonstrate beyond doubt that the only way to protect Scotland's interests is to become an independent country.