Sandwell Council has announced the suspension of all Council debt-related court action against residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Council Leader Councillor Yvonne Davies said the authority was determined not to pile more pressure onto people at this enormously challenging time. 

She said: “We understand that this is very stressful for everyone and our primary concern right now is for the people of Sandwell and how we can support them in this very challenging situation.

“So we have taken the decision to suspend all our court action for debt and will not be pursuing people while this situation lasts.

“All the advice is that the situation is highly likely to worsen in the coming weeks and we just want to act in the best interests of our people.

“We’re taking this action to try to take some pressure off people who, quite frankly, have enough to worry about right now.

“We are setting up a temporary hotline on 0121 569 5333 from Monday for people with concerns about debt and how coronavirus is going to impact on them.

“They can talk in person and we can point them to the latest official advice about how to protect themselves.  

“Please do not use this hotline for normal council issues as it is purely for concerns about debt and coronavirus.”

Councillor Davies said the Council was looking into providing a further package of measures to help people and that more information would follow next week.