Thurrock Council has introduced a range of Council Tax support measures to help residents who might be suffering financial hardship as a result of the changes introduced to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Self-employed workers who are waiting for a grant under the government scheme announced last week will be able to defer Council Tax payments until July.
Government grants are not likely to be available until June with payments backdated. Once this grant has been received by self-employed workers, missed Council Tax instalments will need to be paid. Self-employed people who wish to take advantage of this deferral option should go to Coronavirus (COVID-19) financial assistance for the self-employed and complete the online form.
Residents waiting for a Council Tax Support Assessment are able to defer making payments towards their current year's Council Tax until their application has been assessed.
The council is reminding residents that Universal Credit claimants can apply for a discount of up to 75% on their Council Tax bill. Anyone who makes a new application for Universal Credit should also consider making a claim for Council Tax Support. Those waiting for a Council Tax Support claim to be assessed can opt to withhold payment towards their current Council Tax until a decision has been made on their application.
New bills will be issued to claimants of Council Tax Support reflecting a £150 reduction in the bill thanks to money provided to the council through the government’s Coronavirus Hardship Relief fund.
The government has provided funding to the council to offer extra support during the crisis to assist those facing hardship and in receipt of Council Tax Support. The additional award will amount to £150 per household in receipt of Council Tax Support, and will be applied directly to the new Council Tax bill to reduce the amount due. The council aims to apply this relief and issue new bills to claimants as soon as possible.
Cllr Shane Hebb, Cabinet member for finance, said: "We want to make sure that residents get all the help and support they need during this time. These measures will help make sure that Council Tax is not an additional burden on the self-employed and those claiming Universal Credit as the government implements assistance schemes.
"This follows my announcement last week that we have deferred business rates payments and rent payments for businesses and clubs who rent their premises from the council."