WINCHESTER MP Steve Brine is calling for a council tax holiday for those in need.

The city and county councils, like other local authorities, have a period of non-payment in January and February each year.

But Mr Brine is urging the councils to bring it forward to the start of the financial year, April and May, to help those struggling because of the economic impact of coronavirus.

He has written to Laura Taylor and John Coughlan, chief executives of Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council.

Mr Brine wrote: "To be crystal clear, I am not saying (as with the mortgage lenders) this should be a blanket move; it should be for those who need this help at this time and apply for it."

He added: "I am not interested in any political games or argument, I just want action. I am hearing from hundreds of people who, through no fault of their own, suddenly have little or no income. Many of them have never asked the state for help and never missed a council tax payment before.

The MP said it was not enough to offer residents the option to split out their payments over 12 months instead of 10 this year.

The city council placed a statement on its website last night (Thursday): "If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax then please contact our team on 01962 848 288 or email We’ll provide helpful assistance based on your individual situation and work with you to arrange a suitable payment plan."

In a reply to Mr Brine, Mr Coughlan said the county would support districts offering flexibility over payments. But he added he would be concerned about the impact on council cash flows of a two-month break, describing it as "blunt instrument".

"Hampshire County Council will work with and support districts that offer such specific schemes. What we cannot do is afford to lose circa £120 million (£60m per month) from our cash flow in the heat of this crisis especially with our immediate social care responsibilities.