Babergh pledge to provide further council tax financial support for struggling peninsula households

  Posted: 09.02.21 at 09:14 by The Editor

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Thousands of households across Babergh will be eligible for a reduction in their council tax bill after councillors approved further support for residents facing financial difficulties.

Shotley peninsula households face an average rise in their council tax of more than £20 a year, with Babergh District Council adding £5, to the average Band D property, Suffolk County Council around £17, and then parish councils, Social Care and the Police and Crime Commissioner also add to the precept. Band D properties are used to convey the average increase.

Last year, the Government announced a new Hardship Fund to help households already in receipt of means-tested working age Local Council Tax Support (LCTS). This enabled a reduction of up to £150 to be automatically applied to council tax bills for these households – ensuring the district's most financially vulnerable residents had nothing to pay in 2020/21.

Councils were required to hold back enough Hardship Fund to make this same relief available to any new customers who claimed LCTS throughout the council tax year. However, as the year end approaches, there is still some funding remaining and so the councils have taken the decision to reduce council tax bills even more.

Babergh’s Cabinet voted unanimously in favour of o the existing Hardship Fund – to enable the maximum amount of funding to be allocated to working age council taxpayers most in need of support – at their meeting last week.

Ipswich Borough Council and Mid Suffolk District Council also approved an amendment. All three councils will now award further Hardship Relief to eligible residents who have received LCTS against their council tax liability for 2020/21. Households who are affected will automatically receive an adjusted bill – there is no requirement to apply.

Any Hardship Fund remaining, after applying the additional award, will be used to fund Discretionary Financial Assistance for residents in exceptional circumstances. Further information about this support can be found on the councils’ websites.

Babergh District Council leader and cabinet member for Finance, Cllr John Ward said: “We are now a year into the coronavirus pandemic, and we know how worried people are about the ongoing financial impact of this. Last summer, we automatically applied a reduction of up to £150 to council tax bills of more than 4,000 working age households in Babergh.

"This made a real difference to our most vulnerable residents and I am pleased that further financial support is now available.

“Our councils appreciate that some residents may not feel that this help extends far enough, but council tax is an essential source of income for us, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Police, and our town and parish councils, without which we’d be unable to support communities during this difficult time.”

More information can be found on the Babergh council tax page here...

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