Support for residents

This information was last checked on 31 March 2020. 

We understand that you may have concerns about the economic impact of the Coronavirus. The Government has announced a funding package for local authorities to help the most financially vulnerable residents through this period, and we are currently waiting on further guidance.

Council Tax

The Council Tax you pay funds vital services that are stretched in this time of need, including Social Care, Police and the Fire service. The Government have announced a series of measures to support both employed and self-employed during this difficult time.

If your income has been negatively impacted by the Covid measures, we would ask that people:

If you are struggling to pay your council tax, we will help arrange a payment plan, you can let us know by completing our online form. Please bear with us at this exceptionally busy time. Do also remember that across the county all of the public sector is delivering vital services to keep people safe at this difficult time. If you can pay as normal, please do.

Council Tax Support hardship fund

The Government has provided additional funding via a COVID-19 Hardship Fund to support some residents who are already eligible for Local Council Tax Support. We will assess those residents already receiving Council Tax Support who are eligible for this additional reduction and send an updated Council Tax bill, showing the reduced rate, to all who are eligible.

Domestic abuse victims support

The order to stay at home can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is unacceptable in any situation, no matter what stresses you are under.

For anyone who feels they are at risk of abuse, it is important to remember that there is help and support available to you. See gov.uk support for victims of domestic abuse for details of where you can get help and the support options. 

Our Housing Advice team can also discuss housing options with people experiencing domestic abuse. They can be contacted via email at housingadvice@scambs.gov.uk or telephone: 03450 450 051.

Energy bill payments

If you are struggling to pay for gas or electricity as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, the government and energy companies have agreed a range of support measures.

The best place to access help first is your energy supplier, so contact them and explain your specific circumstances. For example, you might have a pre-pay meter and are currently unable to top it up because you are self-isolating.

Useful information can also be found on Citizens Advice and Money Saving Expert details what energy companies are doing to help and how to contact the suppliers.  

Government WhatsApp information service

To reduce the burden on the NHS services, gov.uk has launched an automated ‘chatbot’ on WhatsApp. The service provides information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting. The service will also allow the government to send messages to all opted-in users if required.

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

A set of menu options is then presented which the user can choose from and then be sent relevant guidance from gov.uk pages, as well as links to gov.uk for further information.

Housing

The Government has provided guidance about renters in social or private accommodation not being forced out of their homes.

Homelessness

If you are at risk of becoming homeless or are worried about your housing situation, it is important to act as soon as possible. Visit our homelessness page for information about how we can work with you to try to prevent you becoming homeless.

If you are a rough sleeper or are worried about someone who is currently rough sleeping in South Cambridgeshire, contact our Housing Advice team. Email housingadvice@scambs.gov.uk or call 03450 450 051 (or 01253 501 117 out of hours). Please provide details including location and, preferably a contact telephone number for the rough sleeper if this is possible. Our contact details can, of course, also be passed onto the rough sleeper so that they can contact us directly.

Ermine Street Housing tenants

If you are an Ermine Street Housing tenant and paying your rent will be an issue over the next few months, please email contact@erminestreethousing.co.uk. For more information visit Ermine Street Housing.

Information

It’s really important that everyone helps to share the most up to date, useful and factual information in their communities to make sure as many people as possible are receiving the latest guidance on the virus. One way to keep up to date is on social media, especially the following trusted accounts:

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Organisation

Facebook

Twitter

Public Health England

@PublicHealthEngland

@PHE_UK

 

NHS

@NHSEngland

@NHSEngland

 

Cambridgeshire County Council

@CambridgeshireCC

@CambsCC

 

South Cambridgeshire District Council

@SouthCambridgeshireDistrictCouncil

@SouthCambs

 

Scams

Fraudsters may present themselves as trusted organisations in an attempt to scam vulnerable people for financial gain.

They may contact people using:

  • email
  • text messages
  • social media
  • phone calls

Any contact offering special insurances to provide cover during the coronavirus outbreak, selling ‘hard to find products’ or offering free school meals or goodwill payments from HMRC or other organisations, in exchange for bank account information,  should be treated cautiously.

We will never ask you for your pin number when processing any financial reimbursement.

Fraudsters will try to persuade you to give out personal and financial information including bank account details and security codes.  

If you become aware of any scams or have been targeted, please report them to Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime. 

Scams can also be reported to Citizens Advice Consumer Service (CACS) who act as the national reporting line for all Trading Standards related concerns. The staff at CACS are highly trained advisers and share intelligence with Trading Standards. The benefit of reporting to CACS is that the information is added to a national database, searchable by each Trading Standards Authority in the country. 

Further information can be found on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership website. 

Cambridgeshire County Council also has some useful scam prevention resources, such as posters and media packs.  

Voucher scheme for children eligible for free school meals

Parents with children eligible for free school meals will receive a £15 voucher through their child’s school. This can then be redeemed online via a code or sent to their house as a gift card and used at supermarkets across the country. Further information on the voucher scheme can be found on the gov.uk website.

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