The launch of a new £500 million Hardship Fund in England was announced at Spring Budget 2020 by the Chancellor. On 24 March 2020, the Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP confirmed the Hardship Fund will provide council tax relief to vulnerable people and households to help those affected most by Coronavirus.
This means that the money will go to local authorities in England to enable them to reduce the 2020-21 council tax bills of working age people receiving Local Council Tax Support.
Councils can also use the funding to provide further discretionary support to vulnerable people through other support arrangements such as Local Welfare Schemes. This guidance helps provide clarity to councils on how they can quickly provide support to those households which require support.
Councils have also been told they will receive an additional £1.6 billion in funding to enable them to respond to other COVID-19 pressures across the services they deliver, including stepping up support for the adult social care workforce and for services helping the most vulnerable, including homeless people.
The funding for the Hardship Fund may need to be increased during the coming months as the full impact of COVID-19 become apparent.