The information on this page was checked on 24 August 2020. 

Council Tax

If your income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, 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.

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 be found on Citizens Advice if you're struggling to pay your energy bills. Money Saving Expert also details what energy companies are doing to help and how to contact the suppliers.  

Emergency supplies of food and baby products

Our emergency food hub service stopped on Friday 31 July. The demand for this one-off supply of food was high during the lockdown period but demand has now tailed off. There is higher demand for ongoing support with food due to the financial impact on people due to Covid-19 and we are working with partners and food banks to make sure the right help is in place.

Financial support if you’ve lost your job or you’re getting less work or no work at all

You can apply online for Universal Credit to get financial support if you’ve lost your job, or you're not getting as much work as usual, because of Coronavirus. 

You might also be able to:

You might also be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance if one for the following applies:

  • you or your child might have Coronavirus or you’re recovering from it
  • you or your child are self-isolating because you came into contact with someone who might have Coronavirus
  • you have been told to stay at home for at least 12 weeks by the NHS because you’re at high risk of severe illness

You do not need to go into a Jobcentre Plus office to apply or get a payment. Your Universal Credit payment is based on your actual earnings. You need to report any self-employed earnings and expenses at the end of each monthly assessment period.


There is government support available for landlords and renters reflecting the current Coronavirus outbreak.


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 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 For more information visit Ermine Stree Housing.

Free school meals

Please see full information on government providing free school meals during Coronavirus outbreak.

For children who are staying at home

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak schools continue to support children eligible for benefits-related free school meals who are at home. This could include:

  • providing meals or food parcels through your food provider
  • using the Department for Education’s (DfE) centrally-funded national voucher scheme
  • providing alternative vouchers for a local shop or supermarket

For children attending school

Schools should provide meal options for all children who are in school, and meals should be available free of charge to all infant pupils and pupils who meet the benefits-related free school meals eligibility criteria.

Supermarket vouchers

Cambridge Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS), funded by Cambridgeshire County Council, can support residents in crisis by providing a CLAS award, which could be in the form of a supermarket voucher. Food vouchers are administered as electronic vouchers. Residents can call, email or text direct for support.

Alternatively, Cambridge Aid is another possibility. Cambridge and District Citizens Advice Bureau can help people access both these funds to obtain emergency food vouchers. They can be contacted on 0344 848 7979.

Unexpected expenditure

If you are suffering financially and need help with big, unexpected expenditure, such as with replacing white goods, there are limited options for help with replacement of white goods but the following may help:

  • Cambridge Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS). Applicants must have lived in Cambridgeshire for six months (unless they have fled to the area for their own safety), have no savings, and receive one of the following means tested benefits: Income Support; income based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA); income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA); Pension Credit; Universal Credit. If they are working, their total household must be below the HMRC low income threshold.
  • Budgeting loans for people receiving certain benefits. Applicants must have been receiving one of the following benefits for six months: Income Support; income based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA); income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA); Pension Credit. For people who moved from Universal Credit to Pension Credit, any time spent claiming Universal Credit will count towards the six months. You cannot get a Budgeting Loan if: you are currently claiming Universal Credit (apply for a Budgeting Advance instead); you’re involved in industrial action; or you owe more than £1,500 in total for Crisis Loans and Budgeting Loan.

Water bill payments

Anglian Water

Anglian Water are offering a £1million Assistance Fund for customers who are struggling to pay their bills and may be able to take advantage of. 

If you’re worried about paying your water bill there are 2 ways to contact Anglian Water:

  1. Complete the online Anglian Water Extra Care form
  2. Call their specially trained team on 0800 169 3630

Cambridge Water

If your water is supplied by Cambridge Waterplease see their range of special tariffs and options to help people who are on a low income or who are struggling to pay their water charges.


The GroceryAid Covid-19 Fund has been established to provide enhanced support for grocery colleagues during the Coronavirus crisis. They offer:

  • Mental Health Support: Offering 'in the moment' emotional and practical support for grocery colleagues dealing with shock, anxiety, or stress, from day one of working in the grocery industry.
  • Bereavement Financial Assistance: Providing financial assistance for the loss of a loved one through Covid-19.
  • Crisis Grants: Non-repayable grants designed to help those struggling with exceptional hardship caused during Covid-19.

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