Supporting Welwyn Hatfield through coronavirus

A report setting out the borough council's response to the coronavirus outbreak was approved at Full Council last night (Wednesday, 6 May).

Support for vulnerable people

The report details the actions taken so far and how the council is continuing to deliver key services and make sure everyone in the borough can access the support they need.

Safety and Welfare

Working with Herts Help, the council continues to highlight support for victims of domestic abuse and hate crime.

Many people are facing financial hardship and job uncertainty. Through the Council Tax Hardship Fund, over 3,800 people are set to benefit from payments of up to £150.

A team of council officers have been trained to take calls from people in need and to date the council has delivered over 400 food parcels and supported 250 people by phone.

Ensuring public health and safety regulations are followed during the pandemic, has never been more vital. Proactive checks continue at pace to ensure businesses that can open are operating safely.

Helping the homeless

Working with homeless charity partner, Resolve, The Jim McDonald community centre is now being used as a temporary homeless shelter. Approaches to the homeless team have risen by 25% and at the same time teams have responded to the government's request to 'bring everyone in' providing hotel accommodation for people at risk of sleeping rough.

Support for business

The council continues to liaise with businesses, retailers, district colleagues, WGC BID, town centre managers and others to signpost available help and offer support and guidance on Government loans and funding.

The council has successfully administered over £17m in rate relief for local businesses, including a 12-month business rate holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses and a £5k business rates discount for pubs with a rateable value below £100,000.

As of 27 April, the council has issued £11.6m in grants to 846 businesses - equivalent to 76% of eligible businesses.

The report also notes the impact of coronavirus on the council's finances, as councils everywhere continue to incur extra costs to ensure vital services are running, whilst at the same time losing income from areas such as parking and leisure.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Tony Kingsbury, said:

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the council has been working tirelessly with key partners to support the local Welwyn Hatfield community, ensuring essential services are maintained, the most vulnerable are supported, and residents and businesses are able to access the help available to them.

Of course this is only the beginning; the long road to recovery lays ahead, but I am confident that by continuing to work together as we are, and supporting each other, our borough's future will be a bright one.

Further information and updates on all council services can be found at: www.welhat.gov.uk/coronavirus