15
April
2020
|
18:49
Europe/London

£3million hardship fund to support residents through coronavirus crisis

Camden Council will give three-month Council Tax holidays and one-off support payments to help residents struggling with their finances as a result of the coronavirus.

The Council is supplementing its existing relief schemes with a new hardship fund worth £3million. The hardship fund will include:

  • Emergency one-off payments to help residents with no savings or money in their accounts.
  • A 3-month break from paying Council Tax for those on the lowest incomes.
  • Help with extra support including food packages and benefit advice.

Camden’s Council Tax Support Scheme already provides over 15,000 households with Council Tax exemption, however, under the new package over 6,600 households on the scheme will receive an additional discount, averaging £183.28. For most households this will mean that they receive a three-month Council Tax holiday and for some it will mean that they are exempt from Council Tax for the rest of the financial year. In total £1.2million of financial support will be awarded.

Qualifying households will include any couple or single person earning less than £387 a week and any family earning less than £484 a week, as well as pensioners. The council is writing to these households with a revised Council Tax bill.

These additional measures have been introduced as the number of Council Tax Support claimants is expected to rise as residents face new financial challenges as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Between March and April, the number of Council Tax Support Scheme claimants in Camden increased by over 200 households – with all new claimants being working age households.

Any resident currently facing financial hardship can still claim Council Tax Support as well as other financial support from the Council.

Further support is available from the £1.7million Camden Council has invested in its Local Welfare Assistance Fund, which will give residents in an immediate financial crisis – who have no savings or money in their account and may be waiting to receive their first benefit payment – access to a one-off payment to pay their bills or buy shopping.

Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council
This is a deeply worrying and unsettling time for our residents, in particular those who are out of work or who have seen their income fall away as a result of the coronavirus. Camden Council will do anything in its powers to relieve the pressure – and today we are launching a £3million hardship fund to further bolster our already substantial package of financial support which includes our Council Tax Support scheme.

“We have written to over 6,600 low-income households to explain the additional support on offer which will range from a three-month Council Tax holiday to not having to pay anything this financial year. This is in addition to the 15,000 Camden households already exempt from paying Council Tax. We are also putting £1.7m into our local welfare, housing and food assistance schemes to support households, many of whom may be trying to access benefits for the first time. This includes crisis payments for those who need it.

“This investment will be supported by the tireless work of our support networks, including the Camden Advice Partnership, Citizens Advice and Mary Ward Centre. These are unprecedented times – but we will get through it together, and ensure nobody in Camden gets left behind.
Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council

Financial support for those facing coronavirus hardship 

Camden Council has increased financial support for residents who need it, so if you are struggling with your finances as a result of coronavirus, you can get help.

  1. If you’re facing immediate financial hardship – e.g. you have no savings or money in your account - apply for a one-off payment through the Council’s Local Welfare Assistance Fund at Camden.gov.uk/coronavirus or by calling 020 7974 4444 (option 9).
  2. If you receive Council Tax Support and have something left to pay, we’re giving you additional support to pay council tax. For some people, this will mean a 3-month break from paying council tax. For others, it will mean paying nothing at all this financial year. Look out for a letter and revised council tax bill from the Council which will explain the changes.
  3. If you have existing debts like loans, credit cards or overdrafts, speak to your bank who should be able to give you a 3-month payment holiday
  4. Please get in touch with us so we can also make sure you’re receiving all the support you’re entitled to like food packages and the right benefits

Camden is financing the support package through funding from central Government.