Support for council tax payers and those claiming benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic
The Council recognises that its residents may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and that this might mean that you are not able to pay your council tax bill.
If you have lost your job or seen a fall in your income, you may be entitled to support with paying your council tax. If you have not already done so, you should make a claim for Council Tax Reduction.
Council tax hardship fund
The Government announced that they will be giving Newham additional funding to help people who are receiving support with their council tax bills through the council tax hardship fund.
The Council will reduce the council tax bill for all people of working age in receipt of a council tax reduction, by up to £150 for the 2020-21 year. If your bill is already less than £150 a year, your bill will be reduced to nil. If your bill is already nil, no additional award will be made to you.
If you have applied for a council tax reduction, or are already receiving a council tax reduction, you will not have to do anything else to receive this help. We will not take into account whether you have been affected by COVID-19, either directly or indirectly, in assessing eligibility for this hardship payment.
Changes to benefits and other support available
Recent Government announcements
On 20 March 2020 the Government outlined a package of measures to protect people’s jobs and incomes, as part of the national effort in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Local housing allowance increase
The local housing allowance (LHA) is the maximum amount of help that people renting from a private landlord can claim from housing benefit or universal credit.
From April 2020, for one year, local housing allowance rates were set at levels that mean housing support from the benefits system is sufficient to cover 30 per cent of all rental properties in the local area. This has not been the case since 2012, and meant that the number of private rental properties that are affordable to people on housing benefit or universal credit increased. The average increase in Newham was £48 a week (£206 a month).
Category of need
From 6 April 2020 the government increased the standard allowance in universal credit by £20 a week. This applies to all new and existing universal credit customers. This means that for a single universal credit customer (aged 25 or over), the standard allowance will increase from £317.82 to £409.89 per month.
The government announced that working tax credits payments would be increased from 6 April 2020.
You will find links to all of the current government and NHS information, along with help, advice and guidance for residents and business as it becomes available. This information is being updated all the time so keep checking back.