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Money worries

Residents suffering financially because of COVID-19 are being urged not to struggle alone and to instead seek help with managing their money at an early stage.

A new section on the council’s website has been launched to help local people experiencing financial hardship. There you can find support information on a range of government and council assistance schemes, including local welfare assistance, benefits advice, support for the self-employed and information about child benefit.

The web pages also sign post readers to local and national support services that give free and impartial advice, including Ealing Advice Service, the Money Advice Service and The National Debtline. The contacts listed can help residents with a wide range of budget, debt and financial support questions.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for finance and leisure, said: “Sadly, this coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on so many people. As well as the devastating impact on lives, too many residents are facing serious money issues.

“Visit our page and make the most of the support on hand. You don’t have to face it all alone. We’re here for you during this time.”

Covid emergency fund

In addition to the help announced by the government, the council has also created a £1.5 million package of financial help for residents. The COVID-19 Emergency Fund is providing additional support to those who have been impacted by the lockdown.

Residents can defer council tax payments for up to three months, or up to six months for the self-employed, helping those with temporary difficulties to delay payments to a later date.

Meanwhile, people facing exceptional circumstances can apply for council tax reduction and discretionary council tax discount to pay their council tax at a reduced rate. This includes an extra £150 for people who were previously eligible for this relief.

In addition to this, the council has a local welfare assistance service, which has been boosted by the COVID-19 Emergency Fund to ensure residents who need help can buy food and essential household items and pay for living expenses. Discretionary housing payments are also available to top-up housing-related benefits to cover costs such as rent.

Go to www.ealing.gov.uk/covidmoneyadvice to find out more.

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