Council announces £4.5m package to help residents with coronavirus impact
- Credit: Adriana Elgueta
The council has drawn up a £4.5m package to help residents during the coronavirus crisis.
The package, Havering Helps, will see thousands of households benefiting from bill discounts, £100 handouts, business rate relief and financial help to care providers.
It will include £2m from council emergency reserves for Havering’s Emergency Assistance Scheme, which will provide residents in real financial need with up to £100 a time in cash, up to a limit of £1,000 a year, as well as food vouchers and help purchasing white goods to replace broken washing machines, ovens and fridge freezers.
Central government will provide £1.8m to give all residents currently receiving Council Tax Support a discount of £150 on bills. More than 8,000 households in the borough currently benefit from this help.
The council says it is ensuring that no resident in the borough will be evicted or subject to court or bailiff action for at least the next three months, and has challenged private landlords to do likewise.
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Also part of the package, Council Tax Support is to receive £320,000 to increase capacity to administer new applications for Council Tax Support and another £500,000 is going to be given to help adult social care providers, personal assistants and voluntary sector care providers, so the can “keep caring” as they provide a front line response to coronavirus.
Many businesses in the borough will be able to support their employees thanks to government measures on salaries and by accessing grants of up to £25,000.
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Business rates are paused for three months and Havering Council has already applied 100 per cent relief to businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality industries as well as cancelling direct debits.
Councillor Damian White, said: “Havering Helps is a package of measures that will help people in need now. As the Prime Minister said over the weekend, the situation is going to get worse before it gets better and that will increase the financial worries of many residents and businesses.
“Now we ask residents to be Havering Heroes: stay at home, support our NHS and save lives.
“I urge residents worrying about their finances to get in touch with us or with Citizens Advice Havering or the Money Advice Service. If you can’t pay your rent or council tax, contact us and we will try and find ways to help.”