Stoke-on-Trent City Council has produced a range of information covering rent and financial advice for tenants who cannot work due to the Coronavirus.

If residents cannot work because they have the coronavirus or are self-isolating they may be eligible for statutory sick pay. This is paid from day one, rather than the fourth day of illness. People on a zero hours contract may be entitled to sick pay.

If residents’ income has reduced while they are off work sick, they might be able to claim benefits or help towards rent. They should first check to see if they are eligible for Universal Credit.

If residents cannot work and they are not eligible for statutory sick pay, there is more advice available about applying for Universal Credit and/or new style Employment and Support Allowance. Residents could also be eligible for council tax support. More details can be found on the council’s website, www.stoke.gov.uk.

The government has announced an emergency rescue package for business following the coronavirus restrictions. The council will be administering two elements of the rescue package – changes to business rate relief and grant support.

As a result, bills will be re-issued excluding the business rate charge as soon as possible. In the meantime, rates will not be taken by direct debit from any business that had already qualified for the business rates retail discount as shown on their original rates bills or where more businesses have been identified under the revised scheme. All businesses that pay by a different method, such as online or by cash, that have also already qualified for the discount are advised that they do not need to pay their business rates bills this coming financial year.

If businesses do not receive their amended bill by 8 May 2020, they should contact the council to apply for the discount by emailing businessrates@stoke.gov.uk or calling 01782 238274. If businesses are having issues paying their business rates because of COVID-19, they should contact the council using those details as soon as possible. All businesses that receive small business rates relief – regardless of sector – will be eligible for a cash payment of £10,000, an increase on the £3,000 announcement set out in the Chancellor’s budget earlier this month. Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with rateable values of less than £51,000 will also receive a cash grant of £25,000. Further government guidance is being sought on how the payments will be administered.

Residents are being encouraged to get behind a new community support scheme  #StokeonTrentTogether – click here for more.

All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The importance of this action cannot be underestimated.

For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.