Council tax bill reduction scheme set to run throughout 2020 in Harrogate - here is who will qualify

A coronavirus support scheme launched to help thousands of struggling households with their council tax bills will run throughout 2020, it has been confirmed.

Friday, 3rd July 2020, 7:41 am
Updated Friday, 3rd July 2020, 7:42 am

Senior councillors at Harrogate Borough Council have signed off a move to extend the hardship fund which will cut bills by £150 for the district’s “hardest hit and lowest paid” residents.

It comes as the number of Harrogate district residents asking for help with their monthly bills has jumped by 30 per cent during the pandemic, according to a report.

The council has been allocated £863,000 of government cash as part of the hardship fund - just under £280,000 of which will be deducted from bills in the coming months.

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A coronavirus support scheme launched to help thousands of struggling households with their council tax bills will run throughout 2020.

Julie Gillett, revenue services manager at the council, told a virtual meeting the remainder of the money will be deducted from bills later in the year and possibly into 2021.

She said: "At the start of June we had nearly 5,000 working age households claiming help through our council tax reduction scheme - and we've had approximately a 30 per cent increase in case load since covid.

"The proposed initial award of £150 wouldn't spend all our funding allocation to start with because we need to ensure that we keep sufficient funding throughout the year to continue to award any hardship relief onto any new claims.

"The covid crisis could mean there will be further increases in unemployment later in the year, such as when the furlough and self employment schemes end."

Residents must already receive council tax support to be eligible for the help.

There is no need to apply as the money will be automatically deducted from bills.

Council officers will review the fund this October, December and February next year.

Once all of the deductions have been made, eligible residents could each have benefited from around £500 of help.

Anyone struggling to pay their council tax should visit www.harrogate.gov.uk to see what other support is available.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter

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