Some of the most vulnerable members of the community are set to receive increased assistance, after the council last night agreed to extend its Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) scheme for another year.
The LCTS is managed by the council and provides support payments to people on low incomes to help with their council tax bill.
The decision means one of the most generous schemes of its kind in the county will continue to provide a reduction in council tax liability for eligible residents who need additional financial support – increasing the maximum level of support for working age applicants from 80% to 85%.
The move follows a consultation period, late last year, which invited residents to comment on their priorities for how the council should distribute LCTS to those most in need. With the focus on the cost-of-living crisis its number one priority, the council was keen to hear the views of everyone in the city paying council tax, residents with a low income who receive LCTS, and other interested organisations.
The 2023/24 LCTS scheme comes into effect on 1 April.
Councillor Mark Cory, Portfolio Holder for Resources, said: “We are committed to helping more people through the cost-of-living crisis and providing an even greater level of support to the most vulnerable members of our community.
“This is a difficult time for everyone, so it is right we give extra assistance to our poorest residents, who need the greatest help to pay their bills. By making the scheme even more generous and increasing their maximum entitlement from 80% to 85%, we will assist more low-income households with their council tax payments next year.
“From April our Local Council Tax Support scheme will reduce the costs for 8,784 of our most deserving and vulnerable residents – some 5,423 of working age – helping to limit hardship and tackle inequality.”
The LCTS scheme forms part of a wider package of award-winning council support, which includes flexible payment plans, welfare benefit, debt, and employment advice, as well as administration of an exceptional hardship fund.
The Government has also launched an additional support scheme, providing residents in receipt of LCTS with up to £25 towards their council tax bill in 2023/24.