Figures have revealed that more than £475,000 from a hardship fund has been spent helping reduce council tax bills for residents facing financial hardship in Lichfield and Burntwood during the coronavirus crisis.

A report by Cllr Doug Pullen, leader of Lichfield District Council, to an overview and scrutiny committee meeting showed that 3,385 people had been given the support measure.

Other figures show that 102 people have accessed a £500 grant payment because they could not work due to isolating because of test and trace.

Cllr Pullen said council staff had worked “exceptionally hard” to ensure support was offered to residents during the coronavirus crisis

Doug Pullen

“We issued 3,385 people with council tax hardship funding amounting to £475,001 and put a hold on council tax recovery during the lockdown and into summer 2020.

“Over the last nine months our housing team have worked exceptionally hard to ensure people are supported to prevent them from being made homeless.

“During the initial lockdown, we accommodated all rough sleepers and those in danger of rough sleeping who were willing to engage and also provided alternative accommodation for all the occupants of a women’s refuge after it was forced to close due to staffing shortages as a result of coronavirus.

“The team worked closely with accommodation providers in both the social and private housing sectors, to ensure that we had sufficient capacity to accommodate anyone who needed assistance with accommodation.”

Cllr Doug Pullen, Lichfield District Council

Cllr Pullen’s report outlined how the local authority had also sought to support local businesses through the pandemic.

A £92,500 funding pot from Government to support the safe reopening of high streets in June 2020 had been spent on the employment of a new information officer to help businesses prepare for COVID-19 restrictions.

“Twelve pavement licenses were approved for hospitality businesses to accommodate seating outside and the fee waived.

“As we moved into the gradual loosening of lockdown we became focussed on supporting the businesses on our high streets and shopping areas to be safe for people to visit and slowly encouraging footfall across the district.

“We did this by providing floor stickers to enable safe queuing in shops and liaising with the county council, city council and Three Spires Shopping Centre to ensure the safety of shoppers was a priority.

“Ongoing support and signposting has been given to licensed premises and regular mailshots sent to the taxi trade.

“We also ran a successful communications campaign, digital and print, to ensure Government messages were being circulated.”

Cllr Doug Pullen, Lichfield District Council

The report will be heard at the meeting on 21st January.