A network of community support groups have been set up to support people in the area through the coronavirus pandemic.
Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) is working with parish councils, individuals and volunteers to ensure vulnerable people receive much-needed food and medicines through the crisis.
HDC says it now has the initial list of most vulnerable people from Government and has already contacted everybody on that list to see what assistance they may need.
The authority is also collating a wider list of other residents who may not be classed as “extremely vulnerable” by the Government; but who nonetheless may need support.
“The weeks ahead will undoubtedly be testing for everyone and I firmly believe that the local authorities should step up and go further than ever before to support our communities,” said leader of HDC, Cllr Ryan Fuller.
“I have been clear that HDC will do whatever it can to help, and in addition to setting up the local hub we have also implemented the following measures:
* Suspended all car parking charges across the district. The only trips that should now be made are by those who can’t work from home and those who are shopping for essential supplies.
* Suspended all market pitch fees. Food markets can continue to trade, and as they are playing a valuable role in the supply of fresh food, we will help the traders.
* Provided urgent accommodation to all rough sleepers who were prepared to accept it.
* Fast-tracked the process for distributing the £10,000 and £25,000 Government grants to local eligible businesses.
* Offered a two-month council tax deferral for those who need it.
“We had been working to extend the council tax holiday to every household in the district but as we collect tax on behalf of the county council, police, fire and town/parish councils it wasn’t possible to secure all partners’ agreement,” explained Cllr Fuller.
“I am not criticising these other bodies as maintaining cash flow at this time is essential for them to be able to continue to deliver the very services and support that many people will be relying upon. The vast majority of council tax is spent on paying the wages of the firefighters, police officers, binmen, street cleaners, care providers and many others who continue to work on the frontline.
“HDC’s share of your council tax bill is approximately just eight percent of the total and therefore without the agreement of the other authorities we can’t freeze or cancel council tax bills.
“However, we also operate a generous council tax support scheme that means many who are on low incomes, have lost their jobs or are facing hardship could see their council tax bills reduced significantly. Further information on council tax support can be found on the HDC website.
“These are just the initial actions that we have taken in response to the COVID-19 crisis and I assure you that we will take further action as necessary as things develop. I also want to be clear that even if you don’t fit the usual criteria for support in normal times but are worrying or facing hardship as a result of the current situation, please talk to us. HDC is a pragmatic council and we will do everything we feasibly can to help our residents.”
INFO: More information is available at: www.wearehuntingdonshire.org or call: 01480 388388.