Scotland’s biggest black and minority ethnic network is calling on the Scottish government to “show it can do things differently” by extending its £500 self-isolation support grant to all those with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) because of their immigration status.

People on low incomes in Scotland are now eligible to receive a £500 grant if told to self-isolate, which is administered by local authorities. Applications opened on 12 October.

The Ethnic Minority National Resilience Network (EMNRN) said it would be “unconscionable” to restrict provision after it was told the new grant would only be available to people with NRPF who are working, the Guardian has learned.

Describing NRPF as “the flagship policy of the hostile environment”, the network says in a letter to the Scottish equalities minister, Christina McKelvie, that this approach would disproportionately impact some of Scotland’s most vulnerable black and Asian people, as those subject to NRPF who are allowed to work are predominantly white eastern European and European Economic Area citizens.

The EMNRN, a network of grassroots organizations, campaigners and professionals, set up to support minority communities through the pandemic, has been pushing the Scottish government to use its devolved powers to mitigate the policy, which has left much-facing destitution.

Quick Guide

Scotland’s 5-level system to contain Covid explained


Level 0

Coming into force on 2 November: Light controls on socializing with time limits possible on licensed premises; a maximum of eight people from three households meeting indoors, and 15 people from five households outdoors. Indoor worship, weddings, and funerals capped at 50 people; car-sharing should be avoided and face coverings compulsory on public transport.

Level 1

As above but only six people from two households can meet indoors or outdoors; numbers at weddings and funerals capped at 20 and no indoor contact sports for over-18s; working in offices restricted to essential only.

Level 2

As above, but no indoor socializing and only six people from two households outdoors; enhanced protective measures for schools; outdoor events banned, stadiums closed to spectators but drive-in events and cinemas allowed; no sale of alcohol indoors, except served with meals; soft play, snooker halls, nightclubs and casinos closed.

Level 3

No indoor socializing; six people from two households allowed to meet outdoors; no non-essential travel; no indoor or outdoor alcohol sales; hotels, B&Bs, and campsites restricted to locals or essential workers only; all stadiums and events shut; colleges and universities would have greater restrictions on mixing; amateur outdoor contact sports banned; all leisure venues closed; essential public services only.

Level 4

As in level 3 but hotels and B&Bs closed except for essential workers; may enforce “stay at home” rules or limit travel distances; only essential journeys on public transport; all non-essential shops are closed; hairdressers, beauticians and driving lessons banned; worship capped at 20 people; only five people allowed at weddings; gyms closed; all leisure venues, pubs, restaurants, visitor attractions, and cinemas closed; only essential indoor workplaces, outdoor building, and manufacturing allowed.