Wirral Council is increasing the value of the local welfare assistance scheme in recognition that self-employed workers are struggling to make ends meet as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The Local Welfare Assistance Scheme was set up to provide a safety net to Wirral residents in the case of a disaster or emergency.

As a result of the widespread impact the virus is having, the authority has now set aside an additional £100,000 taking the total in the scheme to £250,000 to help those worst affected while they await access to benefits such as Universal Credit.

The scheme is now open for applications. Awards will only be made where there is no alternative means to meet a need which, if not met, would put at risk the health or wellbeing of the applicant or any of their dependants.

Applicants who are eligible for a hardship award, short term advance or budgeting loan or advance will not be eligible.

Wirral Council cabinet member for finance, Cllr Janette Williamson, said: “It is important that we act quickly to help those, including those who are self-employed and facing very real financial difficulties.

“This scheme provides a safety net when there is no alternative, and while we await further information from the government on help for self-employed.

“We will be making the funding available immediately once applications have been approved.”

Details of how to apply for the scheme are available from: https://www.wirral.gov.uk/benefits-and-money/local-welfare-assistance