£500m Hardship Fund to provide council tax relief

£500m Hardship Fund to provide council tax relief

The Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP has announced today (Mar 24) the confirmation of a £500m Hardship Fund that will provide council tax relief to those most affected by coronavirus.

Vulnerable households who would otherwise struggle to pay council tax will be supported by the new package of funding announced today.

The Fund, announced in the Chancellor’s Budget, will be distributed to local authorities in England in order to reduce the 2020 to 2021 council tax bills of those currently receiving Local Council Tax Support.

Other support arrangements on a discretionary basis will be available for councils to utilise such as Local Welfare Schemes.

Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP 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.”

This announcement comes after an additional £1.6bn in funding was announced to allow councils to respond to new coronavirus pressures surrounding their services.

This includes supporting the most vulnerable people in communities and those that may be unable to pay their council tax at this time.

Billing authorities will also want to establish their own local approach to using any remaining grant to assist those in need, as part of wider local support mechanisms. These may include:

  • council tax relief using existing discretionary discount/hardship policies
  • provision of support outside of the council tax system through Local Welfare or similar schemes
  • offering a higher level of council tax reduction for working-age Local Council Tax Support recipients whose annual liability exceeds £150

The guidance released today aims to bring clarity to councils on the best way to allocate the funding to their communities.