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Coronavirus: Council's financial support package for residents

Published Wednesday, 8 April 2020

We are reminding residents that the council is ready to support people through the Coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly 2 weeks on from announcing our support package for residents who are facing financial difficulty due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are reminding residents that the council is ready to support people through this challenge.

Over the past week, the council’s Customer Service Team have received over 1200 emails and 1000 calls requesting support.

During the same period, we received 278 applications for council tax support which we are processing. We have processed 68 York financial assistance support applications, 48 of these have already been successful completed and £4640 has been paid to those in need.

The council is also finalising the automatic award of additional council tax support. This will see all households on Council Tax Support receiving £150 towards their 20/21 bill.

3000 kind-hearted volunteers have now signed up to help respond to the pandemic. They will work out of one of the strategic hubs providing support and information for those in the greatest need.

Executive member for finance and performance, Cllr Nigel Ayre, said:

“The outbreak of Coronavirus has affected us all in one way or another. We’ve worked to ensure these measures help people who have fallen on hard times due to the outbreak.

These schemes will make sure those residents who are facing hardship, whether that is due to illness or their current employment situation, don’t have to worry about how they are going to put food on the table, pay their council tax or the rent.

As we have seen an increased number of calls and emails, it’s important that people who have access to the internet contact us for this support by using our website. This will help our customer team get to calls from the most vulnerable people and those without internet access quicker.

It is vitally important however, that people who are able to, continue to pay their council tax as normal. I’d like to thank residents and business who are continuing to pay tax and rent, they are helping to support the city during this time of need. This ensures that we can continue to deliver the response to coronavirus alongside continuing to deliver vital services, such as adult social care, education and frontline service such as waste collections.”

The resident support that is currently on offer is split into the following categories:

Governments Hardship scheme

This will see each existing council tax support (CTS) customer given a £150 discount off their council tax bill. Each new CTS customer will also receive the additional £150 off their bill. There is no need to apply we will do this automatically. The total value of this scheme is £950k.

Council’s hardship scheme

The York financial assistance scheme provides two types of support for people. Emergency support, this includes supermarket food vouchers and gas or electric payments. There’s also community assistance to help with basic necessities. People can apply for help purchasing essential appliances, such as cookers and washing machines. People need to apply online or over the phone. This can also be done through support agencies. The total value of this scheme is £1.2m.

Council tax arrears

We will not be actively recovering council tax arrears from people during the coronavirus pandemic. People should not be worried if they fall into arrears during this time. We will contact people in due course to arrange an appropriate repayment plan.

Payment instalments

Customers have always had the choice to spread council tax payments over 10 or 12 months, with many people choosing to spread the cost more by opting for 12. If customers would like to spread the cost further now they can move to paying council tax over the next 11 months rather than 10.

Rent increase deferral

The council have deferred a planned rent increase for tenants due to the coronavirus pandemic. This means that an extra £100,000 will stay in residents pockets to help them respond to these challenging times.

For the latest information about financial support for residents visit https://www.york.gov.uk/COVIDFinancialHelp

if you're on your own and struggling to manage because of coronavirus. We may be able to help you through this difficult time. Call 01904 551550