West Suffolk Council has announced that families on low income will be supported thanks to a 100% discount on Council Tax for one year, as the council look to help tackle the cost of living crisis.
The change was agreed after a consultation that was supported widely, with the council supporting communities in a range of ways, with information and further support being available on the West Suffolk Council Cost of Living webpages.
In last week’s council meeting, the council heard how central Government have announced that it has increased the limit to which council’s can set council tax. With this proving that the government are anticipating local authorities around the country to increase council tax contributions to combat their funding challenges. This has been contrasted, however, by West Suffolk’s Council’s plans to keep their plans to increase the council tax contributions as it was outlined in their medium-term plans in February. This is regardless of the increasing costs on service delivery.
With the cost of living crisis in mind, the council engaged with stakeholders, alongside the communities that they serve, to provide options on how they could temporarily change the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme for one year only. The engagement was met with 70% of respondents agreeing with the proposal to increase the maximum discount available.
Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Resources and Property for West Suffolk, Cllr Sarah Broughton, said:
“There is a range of activities and support that we have been delivering to help our communities during these challenging times. In Suffolk there is tremendous joint work going on in which West Suffolk is playing is part to aid people facing this cost of living crisis. This review by West Suffolk Council of the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme is part of the authority’s work to aid those considered most in need whilst recognising that so many households are affected by the current cost of living crisis. The engagement shows support not only from residents but from Suffolk County Council as a major preceptor. I am pleased that this was supported by Council to help those who need it the most.”
The current proposal is aimed to reach those in the community who are already on means-tested benefits, with many of them working. This has the potential to support around 4,700 residents and represents an investment of £500,000 for one year only, to be worked through the 2023-24 budget setting process.