Information for residents
- What we are doing as a council
- Information for key workers
- Financial support
- What you need to do if you already are on benefits and your income has stopped or dropped
- Accessing benefits the first time if your income has stopped or dropped
- Financial support for people self-isolating or taking time off to care for family
- Support with concerns about your home
- Sick pay entitlements during self-isolation
- Support for people taking time off
- Tax payment related enquiries
- Support for zero-hours contract holders
- Council tax support
- Where else can I go for assistance?
- Advice available for landlords and tenants
- Staying at home and social distancing rules
- Additional advice
- Answers to your questions
What we are doing as a council
We are working closely with Public Health England to respond to the national situation and our public health team are co-ordinating the response, information and advice locally.
We have been actively communicating the latest information and advice to the public via our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as to our stakeholders. Leader of the Council, Cllr Toby Savage and Council Chief Executive provide regular email updates for residents on the council’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
You can subscribe to receive the coronavirus (COVID-19) email updates. View all previous messages in our email campaign archive.
We also publish news on our Newsroom website. You can subscribe to Newsroom for the latest news by email.
Watch a video update on what the council is doing to help support residents deal with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, from Cllr Toby Savage, the Leader of South Gloucestershire Council and Sara Blackmore our Director of Public Health.
For the latest information on council services and opening status of council buildings as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) check our disruption to council services page.
Local Outbreak Management Plan
Our Local Outbreak Management Plan aims to provide a clear plan on how we will work with the new national NHS test and trace service. It demonstrates that we have the necessary capacity and capability to provide a fully coordinated approach to contain and manage local outbreaks of COVID-19 in South Gloucestershire.
Information for key workers
To find out if you are a key worker or also called critical worker, the full list is available on the GOV.UK website: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Closure of educational settings: information for parents and carers.
Early years childcare and school places
We are working to maintain access to early years childcare settings and schools for key workers’ children, vulnerable children and also children with education, health and care plans (EHCPs). You can read more on our education and support for children and young people page.
Guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test, how to get tested and the different types of tests available can be found on the GOV.UK website: Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Guidance about coronavirus (COVID-19) personal protective equipment (PPE) is available on the GOV.UK website: Coronavirus (COVID-19): personal protective equipment (PPE) hub.
What you need to do if you already are on benefits and your income has stopped or dropped
If you are on benefits already, it is really important that you tell both us and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) about any changes to your income so that we can adjust the amount you are entitled to. You can do this by filling in our change in circumstances form. You can tell DWP about a change to your circumstances, visit the GOV.UK website for the Benefits: report a change in your circumstances guidance.
Accessing benefits the first time if your income has stopped or dropped
If you are struggling financially and not on benefits already, you may be eligible to apply for the following:
Financial support for people self-isolating or taking time off to care for family
The government has announced a new £500 million Hardship Fund so local councils can financially support people. The government expects most of this funding to be used to provide more council tax relief, either through existing council tax support schemes or through similar measures. Further details will be published soon by the government.
Additionally, the government is temporarily relaxing the minimum income you need to receive to apply for Universal Credit for people who are self-isolating.
New to Universal Credit
If you are not claiming benefits at the moment and you are now unable to work or your income has dropped, as long as you fit the criteria, you can apply for Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) manages this so you will need to apply, visit the Universal Credit website or visit GOV.UK for the how to claim Universal Credit: step by step guidance. You do not need to go to the job centre and you can receive advance payments from DWP. On 16 April DWP announced that people applying for Universal Credit will now be able to use their existing Government Gateway account to confirm their identity, helping to speed up their claim. The announcement Universal Credit claimants to verify identity through Government Gateway is available on the GOV.UK website.
Welfare Grant Scheme
This scheme can help with basic essentials in the event of a crisis or emergency. Visit our welfare grant scheme page for more information.
Our partner agencies can provide further help and support if you are struggling with your finances. Details can be found on our advice agencies and Welfare Advice Partnership page.
If you are in severe financial hardship and need an emergency payment to pay utility bills or buy food you can apply for help through our local Welfare Grant Scheme.
Support with concerns about your home
If you rent your home, the government has issued additional protections and a ban on evictions during the crisis. Visit GOV.UK: Complete ban on evictions and additional protection for renters
If you are struggling to pay your rent you can apply for Universal Credit. If you are already receiving Universal Credit or Housing Benefit you can apply to the council for a Discretionary Housing Payment
If you’re a home owner, you should call your mortgage provider to explain your change in circumstances because they will be able to pause mortgage payments for up to three months.
Sick pay entitlements during self-isolation
If you are self-isolating with or without symptoms, Statutory Sick Pay will be available to you from your first day off.
If you do not receive Statutory Sick Pay because you are self-employed, there is a range of support available to you including Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowance.
You can find the latest guidance for employees under the sick pay section on the GOV.UK website: Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19).
Support for people taking time off
All employers and employees need to ensure they are following the most up to date guidance from Public Health England, and employers need to ensure all staff can do this. Employers have a statutory duty of care for people’s health and safety at work and we all need to work together to protect the health and safety of everyone.
Tax payment related enquiries
If you are worried about being able to pay tax as a result of coronavirus, visit the HMRC’s coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline page.
Support for zero-hours contract holders
If you are on a zero-hours contract, you will be able to access Universal Credit and the new Employment Support Allowance.
Council tax support
Council tax is a crucial funding stream that helps fund the delivery of valued council services such as bin collections, children and adults social care and the council has a legal duty to collect. However, we want to support people who struggle to pay through no fault of their own during this crisis. The following options are available:
Local council tax reduction scheme
If you meet certain criteria you can receive a discount on your council tax, you can read about the scheme and also download a form to apply.
Spreading your instalments throughout the year or unable to make your April payment
You can spread instalments over 12 months rather than 10 or if you are unable to make your April payment and would like us to amend your instalments to run from May to March, email us at CorporateContactCentre@southglos.gov.uk using the subject title “Council Tax instalment amendments” and include your name, address and billing number in the body of the email.
Where else can I go for assistance?
There are a number of other routes available for assistance outside of the council. These can be found on our Alternative sources of assistance leaflet.
Advice available for landlords and tenants
The government has produced the following guidance for landlords and tenants in the private and social rented sectors on measures relating to repossessions, property access and health and safety obligations during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for Landlords and Tenants
Staying at home and social distancing rules
Shielding and self-isolation
Check our health and wellbeing page about staying safe if you are high risk and what to do if you think you have coronavirus.
Guidance for using parks and open spaces
All our play areas are now closed. This follows government instructions to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
Our parks and open spaces remain open for people wishing to take one form of daily exercise (a walk, cycle or run). This should be taken alone or with another member of your household only. Gatherings are not permitted and any groups will be dispersed.
Follow the government instructions so we can continue to keep our parks and open spaces available for use.
We have been working with our local public transport providers to keep the network as safe as possible throughout this crisis. Now, following the government’s latest advice, it is very important you should not be using public transport unless it is absolutely necessary.
Service levels have been reduced. For the latest public transport information for our region visit the Travelwest website.
For the safety of both customers and staff, we urge everyone not to travel unless they absolutely have to.
Get help and support
We have created a directory of the community support groups in South Gloucestershire, where you can find the specific help and support available in your area. Each listing in the directory includes contact details for the group so you can get in touch with them directly. Visit our get help and support page.
If you have concerns about managing at home or you are worried about a friend or family member, visit our people who are vulnerable page for useful information. If you need to talk to someone, you can call our Adult Care team on 01454 868007.
If you are caring for someone you can find more resources on our support for carers page.
If you need further advice or have not found the information you are looking for, you can find the specific contact details for our services and teams in our directory. Check our contact us section.
Answers to your questions
Our contact centre is currently receiving a high number of enquiries, so we have pulled together the common questions we are being asked, this information is updated regularly. Visit our answers to your questions page.