A FINANCIAL lifeline is being thrown to residents who are struggling - or likely to struggle - to pay their council tax as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tendring Council has announced it will roll-out additional support to people who are eligible for the Local Council Tax Support Scheme.

Residents living in the district will see as much as £150 deducted from their bill, meaning some people will not have to pay a penny for the 2020/21 tax year.

The discount will be made automatically by the authority, in addition to any other discounts people usually expect to receive.

Carlo Guglielmi, cabinet member for finance and corporate resources, said the council would do what it could to support residents at this difficult time.

“If your financial circumstances have not significantly changed at this difficult time, please can we ask you continue to pay your council tax in accordance with your recent bill,” he said.

“This will make a significant difference to how the council delivers its important services to residents and businesses during this time of difficulty and uncertainty.

“There is also external support available for businesses and the self-employed, and for mortgage holders – provided by the government and banks.

“Again, I would encourage you to apply where applicable and obtain the help you are entitled to.

“If you are worried about council tax payments please speak to us to see what support is on offer - do not suffer in silence.”

Due to the timing of government announcements, the council tax changes were unable be applied before this week’s instalment.

However, the council has now said it will refund this week’s payment to any resident now required to pay nothing in light of the new scheme.

For anyone who still has an element of council tax to pay, their future instalments will be revised so they are better in-line with the payment changes.

Tendring Council leader, Neil Stock OBE, also urged residents to get in touch with the authority so it can help with any worries people may have during these difficult times.

He said: “We know that these are worrying times, and as well as being concerned about people’s health residents may also have financial concerns.

“Please speak to us so that the appropriate support can be put in place, and continue to follow national instructions around social distancing and shielding.”

Residents whose financial circumstances have changed may now find themselves eligible for the Local Council Tax Support Scheme.

People are also being encouraged to apply for Universal Credit to help them financially until normality resumes.

Applications for Universal Credit should be made to the Department for Work and Pensions online at gov.uk.

The council tax scheme can be applied for using the online enquiry form at tendringdc.gov.uk/benefits/apply.

Information about support for businesses, council tax payers, and the impact of coronavirus on council services, is available at tendringdc.gov.uk/coronavirus.