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Sunderland councillor calls for Council Tax cut to help community cope with Covid-19 impact

March 19, 2020 3:51 PM
By Stephen O'Brien

City Councillor Stephen O'Brien is calling on the Government to give a 6-month holiday on Council Tax payments to help families cope with the impact of Covid-19.

Stephen O'Brien, Lib Dem councillor for Grindon and Thorney Close

Stephen O'Brien, Liberal Democrat councillor for Grindon, Springwell and Thorney Close wants people in Council Tax bands A-E to be given a 6 month holiday from payments, to help those struggling with the financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

Councillor O'Brien's plans are being echoed by Liberal Democrat party leader Ed Davey MP, who says the scheme would help people struggling with bills.

Under the plan being put forward, councils would be reimbursed by the Government so they wouldn't lose out on income during the 6 month period.

Commenting, Grindon and Thorney Close councillor Stephen O'Brien said:

"Many families in Grindon, Thorney Close and across Sunderland face really uncertain times ahead, especially those who run their own business, who are self-employed, or who are zero-hours contracts.

"The Government has already announced some measures to try and help, but we need to act before people reach crisis point. For a lot of people, Council Tax bills are a huge dint in the money they have available to keep a roof over their heads and keep their families fed.

"Giving people in bands A-E a six month break from having to pay Council Tax would be a huge help, and could be the difference between people getting into debt with other bills. As long as councils are given compensation by the Government I have no doubt that this is the right thing to do and I hope the Government will take up our suggestion."

Acting leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey MP added:

"We face an unprecedented threat, and we must utilise every available resource to protect people's livelihoods and support business at this extraordinary time.

"Liberal Democrats are calling for government to provide full council tax relief for bands A to E for at least six months, with councils fully compensated for this loss of income.

"While we do not know what the future holds, we do know that we will be more resilient if we act together, with our local communities, to face this threat. Liberal Democrats will be asking detailed questions to make sure everyone gets the help they need as soon as possible."