We are facing an unparalleled situation with coronavirus, across our borough, our country and indeed the world.
Locally this is stretching council services, but we are working hard, and in different ways, to focus our resources to ensure the vulnerable in our communities are supported and crucial services can continue.
I’m writing to update you on what actions the council is taking in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, how you can find out the latest information and where you can find details on changes to services.
In response to the Coronavirus, some of our usual services such as libraries and leisure centres have had to close. Others are continuing but are working differently. For the latest information on all services please visit the council website
We have set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline (0151 666 5050) to provide advice on a range of issues including business support, welfare advice and school closures. We have also launched a new online resource to help residents find local support. The Wirral Info Bank website will ask residents what help they need before providing several options to choose from.
The website will also help people register to volunteer, connect local community, voluntary and faith groups and register offers of help from local businesses allowing us to match their expertise and resources with local need.
As I’m sure you’re aware, extraordinary measures have been put in place by the Prime Minister to deal with the coronavirus situation.
Everyone has been instructed to stay at home.
- Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
- Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
If you have received a letter to say you are high risk, you should follow the advice to stay at home for at least 12 weeks, to keep yourself safe.
The latest information from the government can be found on their website. If you don’t have access to the internet you can call the council’s helpline number on 0151 666 5050.
In terms of keeping up to date with all the latest guidance nationally, the government have also launched a WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Service. The new free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19) and will further reduce the burden on NHS services.
To use the free Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.
The Government has announced it will provide councils with £500m of new grant funding to support people who may be struggling financially in our community, because of the effects of the coronavirus situation. A discount of up to £150 on council tax for everyone who qualifies for Council Tax Relief was also announced – if you do qualify, you do not have to do anything to access this as we will automatically adjust your bill and send you a revised one.
Grants for businesses were also confirmed. The main grants are £10,000 for small businesses who get rate relief and up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, depending upon rateable value. Rate relief holidays will also be applied to nurseries and retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.
If you are a small to medium business in the retail, hospitality and Leisure industry or a Nursery, you will not have to pay any business rates for the next 12 months. you do not have to do anything for this, we will adjust your bill and send you a revised one.
Help for the self-employed was also announced with grants of up to £2,500 per month provided by the Government. The Council recognises that the government may take a little while to arrange this so we are making an additional £100,000 from our Local Welfare Assistance Scheme to provide support to the self-employed until the government makes this funding available.
The Local Welfare Assistance Scheme is available for anyone (not just the self-employed) to access if you meet the criteria. This fund is to provide support for hardship in emergency circumstances. You can apply via the websites below
For the latest information and support available:
- Go to the Wirral Council web pages for updates on all council services.
- Call the dedicated Wirral Coronavirus helpline on 0151 666 5050 (Monday - Friday, 9am-5pm)
- Go to the Wirral View website for the latest council news updates
- Follow Wirral Council on Facebook and/or Twitter.
- If you are a business or organisation that needs advice call 0151 650 6982 or email email@example.com to get advice from Wirral Chamber of Commerce.
We are working very closely with our partners, both locally and nationally, to make sure that all residents have what they need to stay safe. One area of concern that has been raised is that of inability to top up prepayment meters, whether that be down to self-isolation or affordability. The Citizens Advice Bureau are working with energy suppliers to help anyone that may be having difficulty.
I want you know the safety and wellbeing of our residents in Wirral is paramount to us and this will always be at the forefront of what the council does.
I hope you are your loved ones are safe and well and I wish you the very best in these difficult and worrying times.