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Additional financial support for residents struggling with council tax during COVID-19

Published: Thursday, 30th April 2020

Residents in receipt of Council Tax Support will automatically receive £150 off their council tax bill and have instalments deferred as part of the latest measures to relieve financial pressure.

Using the £17.4 million Council Tax Hardship Fund which was provided by the Government in response to COVID-19, Birmingham City Council will automatically apply the discount and issue updated bills from May onwards.

At the same time, the council has confirmed it will defer payments on the outstanding balance until the autumn – with the remaining balance being due by instalments for the remainder of the year.

Cllr Brigid Jones, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “We are doing everything within our powers to help people who are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19. The first step is to apply for Council Tax Support which will provide the gateway to the Council Tax Hardship Fund and deferred payments.

“We want to eliminate any unnecessary stress and pressure at this time so once people are in receipt of Council Tax Support, they don’t need to do anything else and can just leave it to us. We will automatically apply the £150 relief and send a new bill with the outstanding balance and deferral details, including when the first payment is due, later in the year.”

Council Tax Support is a means-tested discount which is applied to council tax bills, depending on circumstances including household earnings. Since the country entered COVID-19 lockdown, Birmingham has been receiving an additional 500 applications every week.

The Government announced the availability of the Council Tax Hardship Fund as an additional means of support and this will automatically be applied to anyone who is currently in receipt of Council Tax Support from at 1 April 2020 onwards.

It is expected that once applied, the average outstanding bill in Birmingham will be in the region of £80 although residents will not be required to make any payments until the autumn.

From the beginning of May new bills will be sent to residents in receipt of the Council Tax Hardship Fund reflecting the £150 relief on their bill and with details of when they need to make the next payment on any outstanding balance.

For more information on the support available to residents during COVID-19, including Council Tax Support, visit www.birmingham.gov.uk and search ‘support for residents’. Where possible, residents are advised to complete any enquiries online rather than via the contact centre.