Despite an ongoing reduction in funding from the government, the council is committed to supporting those most in need and recognises the importance of maintaining the level of support it provides through its Local Council Tax Support Scheme.
At its meeting on Wednesday 21st January, Full Council agreed to continue with the scheme for 2015/16 which protects:
- working age vulnerable residents and pensioners by awarding up to 100 per cent council tax relief depending on their income.
- families with children by not counting child benefit as an income or putting a maximum level of support cap on the higher property bandings (recognising that larger families live in larger properties).
- claimants in employment by not increasing the level by which additional income over the applicable amount is taken into account.
The Local Council Tax Scheme was introduced in 2013 following the abolition of the National Council Tax Benefit Scheme. In introducing the changes the government reduced the level of overall funding the council receives for the scheme, initially by 10 per cent, but made no allowance for any future growth in the number of claims or for any council tax rises.
This has added to the council’s financial pressures, however as one of the council’s priorities is to protect the most vulnerable, savings are being found from other council services to cover the costs of the scheme.
Councillor Ian Stephens, Executive member for resources, said:
“We are aware that some local authorities have been considering reducing the level of support provided to people through this scheme, but here on the Isle of Wight we remain fully committed to supporting our most vulnerable residents – one of the council’s priorities.”
Full details of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme can be found on Iwight.com here