A message from our Co-Leaders on Covid-19

Fife Council's Co-Leaders Cllrs Alexander and Ross confirmed the Council’s commitment to do its best to support everyone in Fife during this unprecedented period of crisis due to the Corona virus.

Councillors Alexander and Ross said: "We understand that these are confusing times as we deal with a pandemic, the likes of which we haven't seen in our generation. There will be lots of people who are scared and feeling vulnerable and worrying how they are going to cope.

"While we cannot predict what is going to happen and the situation is changing day by day we want to reassure everyone that the Council is working hard to maintain council services, to look after those who are most vulnerable and to support everyone in our communities.

"We have been preparing for this virus arriving in Fife, and our services have been working hard to identify those in our communities who are most vulnerable. We will make sure that they continue to get the support they need.

"For the rest of Fife, there will be many changes to the services you receive in the coming weeks as we prioritise staff and resources towards the most critical services. Our staff are under incredible pressure and they themselves are not immune to the virus. We need you to be patient. As a society we have to look after those who are most in need first.

" This is a message which is very clearly already out there. We can see how our communities are already pulling together at this time. We and our third sector partners are being inundated with offers to help. We are very grateful for all these and in the coming days and weeks we will be looking at how, where and when we can best use that support.

"There is a lot of interest from community groups and local people to support the vulnerable in their communities. This has to be done in ways that don’t put more people at risk to their health and that safeguard individuals from exploitation.

We’re already helping to support and co-ordinate local action. Council staff are currently contacting local groups to map the activity which is taking place in each area. This will also allow gaps in support to be identified.

"For those who are already struggling financially through minimum wage jobs, zero hours contracts, unemployment and for those who are self-employed or contract workers we understand that there is a significant level of anxiety. We’re going to be flexible with council tax and rent payments, allowing people to reduce or defer them, depending on individual circumstances.

"Fife is served by thousands of small businesses. They are being particularly hard hit. We are again waiting for detail from the government so we can work out what support we can give.

"We want to finish by asking everyone in the local community to look out for each other, follow the guidelines coming from the Government and all public health advice and do what you can to keep you and others safe. Thank you"

Advice on Council Tax and Benefits and Rents

FIFE COUNCIL has put temporary measures in place to help anyone struggling to pay their rent or council tax as we experience the unprecedented situation that is Covid-19.

We know many households will face financial hardship and we will do all we can to support people. We’re going to be flexible with council tax and rent payments, allowing people to reduce or defer them, depending on individual circumstances.

Council Tax

For support with council tax visit www.fife.gov.uk/counciltax

· If you’re income has reduced, you should click on the ‘Council tax’ reduction box and enter your details into the Online Calculator to find out if you qualify for Council Tax Reduction.

· If you currently receive a council tax reduction you should let us know as soon as possible if there are any changes to your circumstances. We will then be able to make sure you’re given the correct discount.

· If you’re unable to keep up your Council Tax payments again, go to www.fife.gov.uk/counciltax and scroll to the bottom of the screen to the ‘Council Tax General Enquiries’ blue box. Please complete the form outlining your current difficulty and any payment proposals.

Rent

For support with rent visit www.fife.gov.uk/housing click on ‘council housing’ and then ‘rent’

Benefits advice

https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/

Advice for community groups 

If you are providing a local volunteering service as a result of COVID-19, please let the Council know by email communityhelp@fife.gov.uk

The Council is working with community planning partners to co-ordinate activity across Fife in order to minimise duplication and identify any gaps. Our partners at Fife Voluntary Action (FVA) will be highlighting voluntary organisations that are urgently seeking volunteers and suggesting individuals to these groups. FVA is also keen to hear from people who can volunteer in their local area. You can contact them by email at helpinghand@fva.org or by phone on 0800 389 6046, or visit www.fva.org/helpinghand to register as a volunteer, or to register any help you, or a loved one, might need at this difficult time.

The Council will also be encouraging volunteering by its own workforce where possible.

As a reminder, while community support is welcomed, care should be taken to ensure that this work does not increase the risk of infection, and the Council encourages all groups to follow government advice on minimising transmission.

The Council and FVA will also be issuing guidance for groups and individuals who wish to volunteer.

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