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Free meals for school children during half term

The council will be giving out free meals to children during the October half term (26 - 30 October)

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Is the Government making a “Hardship Fund” available to residents?

As part of the Government support announced relating to COVID-19, they established a £500m hardship fund to support “economically vulnerable people and households” and this will be administered by local authorities. The Government has stated that it expects most of this funding to be used to provide more council tax relief, either through existing Local Council Tax Support schemes, or through complementary reliefs.

Mortgage holiday of 3 months will be available for those affected by COVID-19.

The Government announced a rough sleeper COVID-19 grant which amounts to £11,250 for SBC.

Can I have my rent or Council Tax paused or reduced?

Supporting you through this difficult time is very important to us so please let us know if you are struggling with your rent or council tax.

If you are struggling to pay your rent please contact the Income Services Team by emailing Income@stevenage.gov.uk or by phone on 01438 242 666.

You may be eligible to claim council tax support if you are experiencing difficulty in paying your council tax bill. You can claim council tax support online or call us on 01438 242875 .You can apply for Council Tax Support regardless of whether you are working or unemployed.

The government announced a Hardship Fund on 23 March (this is subject to change in line with further guidelines from Government). It’s up to £150 off your council tax bill if you receive council tax support and there may be additional money available for hardship cases too.

If you are currently in receipt of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support and your circumstances have changed you should contact the council’s benefits service by emailing us at benefits@hertspartnership-ala.go.uk or call us on 01438 242440.

If you currently do not claim benefit you may be able to claim Universal Credit (UC). The Universal Credit Helpline is 0800 3285644.

Is there any financial help for businesses in the Hardship Fund?

The Government has pledged to provide £20 billion of business rates support and grant funding to help the most-affected firms manage their cash flow through this period.

The measures include:

  • 100% business rates holiday for 12 months for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.
  • £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value from £15,001 and up to £49,999.
  • businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) will receive a one-off £10,000 cash payment.
  • £5,000 business rates discount for public houses (increased from £1,000).

Any business that currently receives retail relief will automatically receive an amended bill showing the adjustment.

If the relief has not been awarded before your first payment is due, we intend to cancel this payment so that it is not taken from your bank. If however you fall into this category and payment is taken, please contact the business rates team immediately and we will arrange to refund this amount to you. More information is available on our Covid-19 Support for Businesses section.

If you do not receive confirmation of this and you feel that you fall in the retail category, please contact us immediately to discuss further or email us. Contact details are business.rates@hertspartnership-ala.gov.uk or call 01438 242876.

I am a small business – what financial help can I apply for?

On 28 April the Government announced their Business Bounce Back Loan Scheme. This means you can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 interest free for the first 12 months.

Is the food bank still open?

Yes, the Stevenage Community Food bank is still operating, but in a different way. Simply contact stevenagecommunityfoodbank@gmail.com with your details and address and a volunteer will be in touch.

How are we keeping residents informed?

Please continue to visit our website and social media channels to see the latest information on our services and any changes we have had to make following guidance from Central Government.

A Coronavirus special edition of the Chronicle, our residents’ magazine was delivered to Stevenage homes in April 2020. A Coronavirus recovery edition of the Chronicle was delivered to residents in July.

© 2020 Stevenage Borough Council