Councillors sanction further council tax support
Residents struggling to pay their council tax are in line to receive further financial support from West Oxfordshire District Council.
The Council has been allocated £474,564 from the Government’s Hardship Fund which it is currently using to offer up to £150 in relief for those in receipt of council tax support (CTS).
Numbers of those receiving CTS in the District have already increased by more than seven per cent to 2,387 between March and June and are expected to rise significantly over coming months as the furlough scheme ends and more residents start claiming Universal Credit.
However, even if the number of CTS claimants rises by 100 per cent, the council estimates there would be a surplus from the grant of more than £150,000.
As a result, councillors have agreed to ring-fence some funding to create a Council Tax Hardship Fund aimed at residents suffering severe hardship whether in receipt of CTS or not along with a local welfare fund.
In December, a review of expenditure will take place with surplus funding awarded to CTS residents who owe more than £150.
Awards of up to £150 will continue to be given to new CTS claimants throughout the remainder of the financial year.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday.
Cllr Toby Morris, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “We are determined to make best use of the Government funding available and it is only right it is given to those who have been hardest hit.
“With the number of benefit claimants rising in the District, we will continue to review the situation and give as much help as possible.”