South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils are putting a range of measures in place to help people who are being affected financially by the Coronavirus pandemic, including support for individuals and for businesses.
Support for individuals – council tax Hardship fund for people on Council Tax Reduction The government has confirmed details of a £500million hardship fund. Under this scheme, people in receipt of Council Tax Reduction will receive a minimum of £150 off their council tax bill for 2020/2021, unless their bill is less than £150, in which case their bill will be reduced to zero. This is in addition to any support they already receive. The councils are now working to confirm the amount each individual qualifying household will receive off their bill – as soon as this is complete, revised bills will be issued. Council tax payments Where possible, people should continue to pay their bills as normal. If someone is genuinely having difficulty paying their council tax, they should contact our council tax team on: •Vale residents – firstname.lastname@example.org / 0345 302 2315 People who are currently not being paid, and are struggling to pay their bill, are encouraged to apply for Council Tax Reduction – their account will then be put on hold for 30 days while their application is processed. To apply for Council Tax Reduction please visit whitehorsedc.gov.uk/ctrs For more information about support and advice for individuals please visit southoxon.gov.uk/covid19 or whitehorsedc.gov.uk/covid19
Advice and support for businesses The councils are prioritising awarding the extensions to retail rate relief to existing accounts and working to identify eligible ratepayers. Work has also taken place to identify and collate the necessary information to allow the councils to pay Small Business and Retail Grants. Letters have gone out to ratepayers who we believe qualify. To claim a grant, businesses should complete the required form which can be found at: •Vale business – www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/businessrates Payments will begin to be processed from week commencing 6 April. Those that can pay their bills should do so as normal, however those businesses who are genuinely having difficulty paying their business rates should contact our business rates team via:
•Vale businesses – email@example.com The South & Vale Business Support team publishes the latest government advice and support on svbs.co.uk and via twitter (@TeamSVBS), including about rates relief and business support grants. Business can also sign up to receive an e-newsletter via the website.
The website also lists the latest job vacancies for individuals seeking temporary employment, exercises to stay healthy while working from home, and links to mental health organisations.
The government has advised those who are self-employed who are in urgent need of financial assistance to apply for Universal Credit and Council Tax Reduction. This will provide them with support until a grant for the self-employed becomes available in June.