Chichester District Council

District Despatch

16/09/2020

District Dispatch

This week, the Government introduced the ‘rule of six’ to target the rise in coronavirus cases in the country. This new restriction means that social gatherings, inside or outside the home, should not exceed six people. It is really important that we all play our role and follow the Government’s guidance, including washing our hands regularly, wearing a face mask in enclosed spaces; and staying at least two metres apart or one metre with a face covering or other precautions. To keep up to date with the latest guidance and news, please sign up to our email newsletter at www.chichester.gov.uk/newsalerts

As part of our drive to help residents keep fit and healthy and improve their wellbeing, our Chichester Wellbeing team is offering free online and telephone support. They have a whole variety of services, including helping people to reduce their alcohol intake; a service that helps you to quit smoking; and, weight loss workshops. These services all link with the Government’s Better Health Campaign, to help people improve their health and protect them from serious illness, including coronavirus. If you would like to find out more, please call 01243 521041 or email info@chichesterwellbeing.org.uk

Over the summer, it has been great to see people supporting their local shops, restaurants and businesses – and it’s vital that we all continue to do so. In some cases we’ve seen businesses expand and grow, and this includes some of the businesses in our Old Bakery arcade in Petworth. Owned by the council, it is currently home to a shoe repairer, as well as charities and an energy company. Two existing businesses are moving into bigger premises within the arcade, while new tenants include a deli and charity organisation. This is really positive news and we’ll be telling you more about this in the coming weeks. We all have a role to play in helping our businesses get back on their feet and thrive once again and so please do all you can to support our local businesses.

If you own a business, there is still plenty of support available – you may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants. The Government has created a business support finder tool to help you identify support that may be available to help you www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder As a council we have also launched a £250,000 business recovery grants scheme. You can apply online at www.chichester.gov.uk/bsuinesssupportadvice until Friday 18 September.

I’m pleased to tell you that we have expanded our Council Tax Hardship scheme to help more people who are struggling financially as a result of coronavirus. In March, we received just over £699,000 of Government funding to help people who were experiencing financial hardship to pay their council tax. This meant that every working age person already receiving the council’s own Council Tax Reduction support, automatically received £150 or an equivalent amount if the balance of their account was less than £150 for the year 2020-21. All new Council Tax Reduction recipients who are eligible will also receive £150 for the 2020-21 financial year, subject to funding being available. This support has now been extended to pension-age recipients of Council Tax Reduction and all council tax payers that are financially vulnerable as a result of the pandemic. We understand that this is a difficult time for many people and so I would urge anyone who is struggling with payments to apply for Council Tax Reduction. This is a means tested benefit and does not take account of outgoings. If you think you may be eligible, please visit our website for further details and to apply at: www.chichester.gov.uk/myaccount If you are already in receipt of Council Tax Reduction and are still having difficulties paying your bills, you can now apply for this new support byfilling in the Discretionary Council Tax Reduction application form at: www.chichester.gov.uk/benefitforms

Although our council offices are currently closed to the public, we are still here to help. Our services can be accessed anytime, anywhere at www.chichester.gov.uk If you can’t find what you are looking for, you can email us at contact@chichester.gov.uk You can also reach us on the phone between 9am and 5pm weekdays on 01243 785166. The majority of our staff who are based at East Pallant House are now working half of their time in the office and half of their time at home. This is so that we can maintain social distancing measures and follow Government guidelines. You can find the latest Government advice at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Best wishes

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council