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Cost of living support

Financial advice and emotional support on how you can ease the cost of living squeeze.

Exceptional Hardship Fund (EHF)

This fund has been set up to support our most vulnerable customers who have seen a reduction in the Government support which helped to pay their Council Tax Liability or for those who are suffering financial hardship due to unforeseen circumstances.

Exceptional Hardship Fund (EHF) support payments are set up to provide short term relief and therefore should not be seen as a long term solution to debt problems.

Applicants will need to ensure they have taken all reasonable steps to resolve their own situation prior to application. You may already qualify for certain benefits and the following pages may contain some useful information: If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax and other bills please visit:

Debt management advice

Housing Benefits

Local Council Tax Scheme (LCTS)

Main features of the fund

  • EHF payments are discretionary
  • Customers do not have a statutory right to a payment
  • The Revenue Service will administer the fund
  • EHF payments cannot be awarded to settle arrears of Council Tax
  • We will consider awarding the fund from the date of application but not prior to the 1 April 2013
  • It is outside the main Council Tax Support Scheme and is not a payment of Council Tax Support

 More information is available in our Council Tax Support Exceptional Hardship Policy (PDF) [165KB] .

Who can apply to the EHF?

Anyone who is facing unexpected changes to their circumstances that have led to them facing financial hardship.

Examples of applications or households who may potentially be awarded help from the fund are (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Recently bereaved and income disrupted due to suspension of other benefits
  • Those who have left care or under 25 years old and unable to live at home
  • Recovering from a serious illness and unable to contribute to the household income
  • Lone parents with children under the age of 5 in the household
  • Other exceptional circumstances that have placed the applicant in unexpected financial hardship
  • Those who have been directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and government response

How to apply

You will have to complete an application form to apply for help from the fund and provide documents to support your application.

Apply to the EHF


The council in assessing your application will be looking at the following criteria:

  • The applicant or household is facing severe financial hardship
  • The applicant will have already taken steps to access other advice and support from independent agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau or Step Change
  • The applicant must have explored potential changes in payment methods and instalment plans for their Council Tax and Utility Bills to assist their financial situation
  • The applicant or household must not have access to any other financial assets that could be realised to pay the Council Tax; e.g. other properties, land, stocks/shares/bonds
  • The applicant or household must not be avoiding or refusing to pay their Council Tax. The Council Tax due must not be the result of an overpayment due to fraud or a resulting penalty

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