PEOPLE self-isolating in overcrowded houses will be offered alternative accommodation in a bid to encourage them to stick to the rules.

The initiative is one of several being trialled by the Government in nine areas with higher Covid-19 infection rates.

Initiatives will be piloted in local authority areas including Newham and Hackney in London, Yorkshire and Humber, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside, Peterborough and Somerset.

A funding pot OF £11.9 million will be split between local authorities in nine areas of England as part of the scheme encouraging people to get tested and self-isolate when required.

The pilots will provide social care, "buddying" services for people needing mental health support and translation assistance for non-English speakers.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Variants have the potential to be a trojan horse for our hard-won progress and it is more vital than ever that we do what we can to show them the exit door, following the rules and self-isolating when asked.

"We recognise just how challenging self-isolation is for many people and these pilots will help us find the best ways to support people and making it easier for everyone to keep doing their bit."

The Government has already backed a pilot across the Greater Manchester region with £2 million of funding to assess ways of helping people self-isolate.

It includes "support and engagement teams" who work with households within 24 hours of a positive Covid-19 test to develop a bespoke plan for self-isolation.

James Jamieson, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: "Rapidly targeting local outbreaks and supporting people to self-isolate when required is absolutely crucial to our continuing fight against coronavirus.

"These pilot schemes will provide further insight into what works best in supporting those who test positive and their contacts to do the right thing to protect themselves, their families and their wider communities.

"All councils continue to use their unique local knowledge and connections to reach out to areas where they are most needed, working with Government in our joint national effort to stop the spread and keep case rates as low as possible as we look towards a return to our normal way of life."