DUDLEY Council has announced it will suspend legal and enforcement action to help residents and businesses deal with the fall out from coronavirus.

The local authority has announced no further legal summonses will be issued until further notice and court hearings scheduled from Thursday, March 19, will be cancelled.

Council chiefs have also revealed there will be no new action or contact by enforcement agents.

The measures will apply to council tax, business rates, council housing rent and all other debts to the local authority.

It follows the announcement from Chancellor Rishi Sunak that additional business rate relief and grants will be made available to small businesses and those in the worst-affected sectors of retail, leisure and hospitality.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the council, said: "We strongly welcome the robust plans laid out yesterday to help businesses and residents who will be affected financially by the coronavirus.

"We share the concerns of national government and echo their sentiments that we will do whatever it takes to help our residents keep their businesses and keep their homes when we come out of the other side of this.

"That is why we are suspending all action to chase debts from today until further notice.

"People have enough to worry about at the moment without the added extra concern of court dates or bailiffs knocking on their door.

"We will be announcing further measures of support in due course – as a council we will do whatever it takes to support our residents during these unprecedented times."

Sandwell Council announced similar measures earlier this week.