COUNCIL leader Andrew Western says his top priority is making sure essential services continue to be delivered in the borough especially for vulnerable residents as the country battles with coronavirus.

The council is undertaking a range of measures with partners including the NHS to alleviate the impact of the virus and keep residents safe in the borough.

Cllr Western also promised help for residents and businesses who are struggling because of the economic impact of the virus.

This includes repayment holiday for businesses who received money from town centre loan schemes, suspending recovery of council tax arrears, for 12 weeks, and an increase in in local welfare assistance for needs residents.

Cllr Western said the health and well-being of council staff was a priority and that they are being encouraged to work from home where possible. None of the council’s staff will lose out financially as a result of the outbreak.

Council officers are also reviewing forthcoming events and postponing meetings which are not business critical.

Cllr Western also recognised this was an extremely challenging time for residents and businesses alike and a series of financial measures are being introduced to ease the burden on them.

These include all recovery action on debts, including for prior years, suspended for three months.

Staff are being redeployed from recovery work to proactively ensure residents get access to financial support, such as the 100 per cent council tax support award to those out of work from day one.

The authority will also ensure that its council tax support scheme (CTS) continually changes to reflect changes in national benefits through the Council’s discretionary schemes.

Businesses who have received money from Trafford’s town centre loan schemes can now benefit from a six month repayment holiday to help them.

Trafford companies entitled to the extended 100 per cent rates reliefs will no longer be required to pay their 2020/21 business rates bill and direct debits due for April 1will be cancelled.

The council will agree special payment arrangements with any/all other businesses, initially delaying the first instalment due to July1 and spreading the remaining instalments over the rest of the year.

As with residents, all recovery action against businesses, including for prior years, has been suspended for 12 weeks.