Council Tax support will stay the same for Fenland residents next year

Cllr Chris Seaton. Picture: Steve Williams.

Cllr Chris Seaton. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

People on low incomes in Fenland will continue to get the same level of help with their Council Tax next year.

District councillors agreed last night (December 15) to keep the current Council Tax Support scheme as it is.

They decided not to go ahead with an initial proposal that would have meant everyone of working age having to pay at least 20 per cent of their Council Tax bill, rather than the current minimum of 14 per cent.

They heard that a 12-week consultation over the summer had revealed “overwhelming” opposition to the proposal for a reduction in the amount of help given.

There was also evidence that making those on low incomes pay more would lead to more people getting into arrears and to the council incurring higher recovery costs.

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Council Tax Support is a means-tested benefit whose level is set locally. To get it, people of working age have to provide evidence of income, savings and the make-up of their household. Less well-off pensioners can get the full bill covered under rules set by central government.

In Fenland the level of support has remained the same since 2014, with about 4,350 people currently receiving the benefit.

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Councillor Chris Seaton, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet member responsible for finance, said: “The consultation showed overwhelming opposition to any reduction in the help available to those in most need. We have taken that feedback on board, as well as considering all the other evidence, and decided to keep the scheme as it has been for the past three years.

“Even in these difficult economic times, with the continuing reductions in central government funding, we want to go on doing all we can to support those people who are already struggling financially.”

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