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'Havering Helps': Council launches £4m package to support residents with financial cost of coronavirus

Havering Helps logo
Published: Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Havering Council Leader, Councillor Damian White, has today announced ‘Havering Helps’, a package of measures worth more nearly £4.5m to support residents, businesses and care providers in the borough

With the borough heeding government’s advice to ‘stay at home, support the NHS and save lives’, the Council’s package recognises that these measures will have financial impacts for many in the borough.
 
The Council is committing that no resident in the borough in either council tax or council rent debt will be evicted or subject to court or bailiff action for at least the next three months, and has challenged private landlords to do likewise.
 
The package will include:
  • £2m from Council emergency reserves for Havering’s Emergency Assistance Scheme which will provide residents in real financial need with up to £100 a time in cash, up to a limit of £1,000 a year, as well as food vouchers and help purchasing white goods to replace broken washing machines, ovens and fridge freezers
  • £1.8m provided from government to give all residents currently benefiting from Council Tax Support a discount of £150 on bills. More than 8,000 households in the borough currently benefit from this help.
  • £320,000 to increase capacity to administer new applications for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support
  • £500,000 to help adult social care providers, personal assistants and voluntary sector care providers ‘keep caring’ as they provide a front line response to coronavirus
Many businesses in the borough will be able to support their employees thanks to government measures on salaries and by accessing grants of up to £25,000.
 
Business rates debt collection has been paused for three months and Havering Council has already applied 100 per cent relief to businesses in the Retail Leisure and Hospitality industries as well as cancelling direct debits. This will enable the borough’s employers to do the right thing for workers.
 
Councillor Damian White, said:
 
“Havering Helps is a package of measures that will help people in need now. As the Prime Minister said over the weekend, the situation is going to get worse before it gets better and that will increase the financial worries of many residents and businesses.
 
“Havering Helps includes a package of £2million to help people pay bills, buy food and supplies and alleviate the worry that financial uncertainty causes. We are also committing £300,000 to support the crucial work social care providers and the voluntary sector are doing in caring for our most vulnerable residents.”
 
“Havering Helps measures mean support and protections for residents, businesses and our care providers. Now we ask residents to be Havering Heroes: stay at home, support our NHS and save lives.”
 
“I urge residents worrying about their finances to get in touch with us or with Citizens Advice Havering or the Money Advice Service. If you can’t pay your rent or council tax, contact us and we will try and find ways to help.”