A GROUP of councillors wants to see council tax payments deferred to support people who may be suffering the effects of coronavirus.

The Allerdale Independents want to see residents in the district start paying their council tax for the year two months later to help those who are most vulnerable.

However, the authority’s leader Mike Johnson, explained the council does not have the powers to make that decision.

Allerdale Council is the authority which is responsible for collecting council tax and distributing it to other authorities such as police, the county council, fire service and parish councils.

A spokesman for the Allerdale Independents Group said: “Councillor Will Wilkinson representing St Michael’s Ward in Workington and part of the Allerdale Independents, has put forward the following proposal and it has received the full support from the Allerdale Independents group.

“The council tax payments are divided into ten separate payment periods from April through to January, with the months of February and March being non-payment months. It is proposed the two non-payments months for council tax, which will fall in February and March 2021 are brought forward to April and May 2020 to help alleviate the financial burden on some of our most vulnerable residents.

“The Allerdale Independents group feel that at a time when many people will be experiencing both health issues and added financial stress, Allerdale Council needs to take the lead and show innovative thinking on how we can best support our local communities in their hour of real need. We are asking Allerdale council’s deputy leader Mike Johnson and Marion Fitzgerald to commit to pushing this proposal forward at the earliest opportunity.

“As a group, the Allerdale Independents fully support the work Boris Johnson and his team have put in to assist businesses and the introduction of the hardship grants. However, it is anticipated these are expected to take some time to filter through due to the large demand. We feel, this is an opportunity for local government to do its bit in making things easier for local residents who are finding it difficult, some residents simply can’t afford to live on their reduced incomes.”

The council leader, however, said the matter was out of his hands.

He said: “Allerdale Council doesn’t have the power to delay the council tax payment and the bills have already been sent out.

“There is scope within the Government’s hardship fund to extend council tax reduction scheme and we are working on that now.”