Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed the government’s £500m Hardship Fund will provide council tax relief to households most affected by Coronavirus.
The government has set out that the Hardship Fund, which was announced by the Chancellor at Budget, will go to local authorities in England to enable them to reduce the 2020 to 2021 council tax bills of working age people receiving Local Council Tax Support.
Councils will also be able to use the funding to provide further discretionary support to vulnerable people through other support arrangements such as Local Welfare Schemes.
According to reports, people in receipt of Local Council Tax Support schemes are recognised as the most vulnerable to changes in income – with the announced guidance advising councils on how they can quickly provide support to those households which require support.
As reported by 24housing, the funding follows a £2.9bn sum to help strengthen care for vulnerable people, including those homeless in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Providing the necessary financial support to people and families is critical at this difficult time when many people will be concerned about changes to their income.
“That’s why we’re giving local councils an additional £500m, to ensure help is available for the most vulnerable people in our society who are struggling to pay their council tax bills.
“The government is on your side and will do whatever takes to help.”
Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Resources Board said: “We are pleased that councils will now be able to provide much-needed support to many households on the lowest incomes by quickly reducing or removing the need for them to pay council tax.
“Councils are leading local efforts to support communities as they try and cope with the coronavirus outbreak. By accepting our call for local flexibility over some of this hardship funding, councils can better-target some of it towards people who may be especially, or newly, vulnerable as a result of the coronavirus, using existing local welfare schemes.
“We also urge the Government to distribute funding for the business support scheme sooner rather than later so they can also facilitate speedy transfer of money to businesses.”