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South Hams Council Tax Reduction scheme designed to help more people than ever

26 January 2023

A close-up picture of a five pound note and several pound coins

South Hams District Council is looking at helping more residents than ever through its Council Tax Reduction scheme, to help with the impacts of the cost of living crisis.

The authority's Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme offers significant reductions to council tax payments to households facing financial pressures. The scheme is more important than ever, with many households struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Every year, the Council must review its CTR scheme, to decide if they are going to continue with the same scheme or revise it. The authority held a public consultation throughout October and November 2022 to gauge the opinions of residents.

58 people responded to the consultation questionnaire, either partially or fully.

Among the most significant proposed change to the CTR scheme is to "uplift" bands 2, 3 and 4 of the scheme by 20% (above current inflation) to take into account the cost of living crisis. This would give those households in these bands the opportunity to increase their income and still remain eligible for support. 70% of those who responded in the consultation supported these changes.

Other proposed changes include a change to the minimum income floor for self-employed people with caring responsibilities, which has support from 70% of respondents, and tweaking the earnings disregard to make it easier for the council to administer the scheme and make it easier to understand for residents, which was supported by 72% of those who took part in the consultation.

The recommendations went before the Council's Executive on 26 January, with the recommendations to be fully agreed by Council on 16 February

Cllr Nicky Hopwood, South Hams Executive Member for Benefits, said: "We know how hard the cost of living crisis is hitting our residents here in the South Hams. The changes we're suggesting to our Council Tax Reduction scheme, including its simplification, should offer some more support to those who could really use it right now."

This scheme will run alongside the government's Council Tax Support Fund, which is offering additional support to the 3.8 million households already receiving Council Tax support (reduction), while also providing councils with the resources and flexibility to determine the local approaches to support other vulnerable households in their area.

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