Councils are looking at plans to ensure people struggling to pay the bills could pay nothing until June during the coronavirus lockdown. Authorities are considering the idea of a council tax “holiday” which would mean people can delay their first instalment of council tax for the 2020/21 year until May or June.
Birmingham, Shropshire, Wiltshire, Chelmsford and Rutland councils are offering customers until June to pay their first instalment.
Derby Council is giving residents until May to pay their first yearly.
In Cheshire and Ealing, residents will see their payments deferred up until July.
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Other councils across in the UK and across London are offering up to £200 off for residents already receiving council tax support.
A Local Government Association spokesman said: “Residents should check with their council to find out what support is on offer for them.
“Councils are working hard to ensure hardship funding reaches those who need them as quickly as possible.
“This funding has meant councils can provide much-needed support to households on the lowest incomes by quickly reducing or removing the need for them to pay council tax.
“Some councils have also delayed collecting payment of council tax until June, bringing forward the two months residents don’t pay the bill to the beginning of the calendar year.”
It comes after the Government announced the arrival of a number of financial relief packages to help people in the UK through this health crisis.
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One of the Government’s initiatives was a £500million Hardship Fund, which is intended to provide support for people struggling for money during the pandemic.
Local councils will have the power to use this cash to reduce council tax bills for those eligible.
People who get Council Tax Support already could save £150 a year on their council tax bills due to the scheme.
Residents whose total council tax bill is less than £150 and receive Council Tax Support, may not have to pay at all.
The Hardship Fund will also be distributed to local support schemes, to help people who are struggling as a result of the outbreak.
The scheme is expected to come as a welcome relief to an estimated 2.3million people in England.
Benefits in Scotland and Wales may differ as council tax is a devolved issue.
Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, unveiled the new funding scheme last month.
Mr Jenrick said the fund will help “ensure help is available” during these times of great uncertainty.
He 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 £500 million, 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.”
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