Council tax hardship funds

The Government has made it clear that individuals should not suffer financially as a result of COVID-19.

As part of the Budget, the government announced that it would provide local authorities in England with £500m of new grant funding to support economically vulnerable people and households in their local area.

This additional  £500m is a Hardship Fund for local authorities in England to enable them to reduce council tax bills for 2020 to 2021 for all working age residents who are eligible for Council Tax Reduction (this does not include customers who only receive a discount or exemption e.g. single persons discount)

Customers in receipt of Council Tax Reduction will receive a further reduction of their council tax bill of up to a maximum of £150.00.

Where the customer in receipt of a Council Tax Reduction and their council tax liability is less than £150.00, then their liability will be reduced to nil.

Where the customer in receipt of a Council Tax Reduction and their council tax liability is nil, then no reduction will be made.

This whole process will be automated , customers do not need to contact the Council. For ALL working age Council Tax Reduction customers we will reduce your council tax accounts and send you a revised council tax bill with a revised instalment payment plan.

The guidance has now been published in the COVID-19 hardship fund 2020-21 local authority guidance pdf and the Council will be working to allocate the funds and issue new bills as quickly as possible.

Council tax exceptional and discretionary hardship funds

These funds have been set up to limit the impact of the council tax support scheme for our most financially vulnerable customers.

The Discretionary Hardship Fund (DHF) covers the shortfall between council tax liability and payments of council tax support. It is a cash limited fund.

The Exceptional Hardship Fund (EHF) covers those who have been excluded from council tax support.

Who can apply for a DHF payment?

Every customer who is entitled to council tax support and who has a shortfall is entitled to make a claim for help from the fund.

The main features of the fund are that:

  • Exceptional Hardship Fund payments are discretionary
  • Customers do not have a statutory right to a payment
  • It is a cash limited fund
  • The Benefits Service will administer the fund
  • Exceptional Hardship Fund payments are not a payment of main council tax support scheme.

Recipients are expected to take action to improve their financial circumstances/

Who can apply for an EHF payment?

This is awarded where claimants have been excluded from council tax support (for example because they own a high value home in the Borough) but are unable to improve their circumstances.

Applying for help with your council tax

You can make a claim for Exceptional Hardship Payment by completing our online form below:

Apply for discretionary housing payment

We may ask you to provide additional information to support your claim. In order to decide whether or not we can assist you from the one of the Hardship Funds we need to know as much as possible about your situation. This includes why you have difficulty paying your council tax, what you have done to improve the situation, what stops you finding a solution yourself and how the problem is affecting you and your family.

Both the amount and the duration of an award will be decided by the Council, the decision will be based on the evidence you supply and your individual circumstances.

Hardship fund awards are usually only made for a limited period and are not a long-term solution. They are awarded to give you time to revise your income and expenditure.

If your request is successful, you will be notified of how much you have been awarded and how long your award lasts. The amount awarded will depend on your circumstances and the reason it has been awarded. When the award ends, you can re-apply, but we will look at what efforts you have made, since your earlier application to improve your financial circumstances.