Scrapping minimum charge to assist vulnerable people
The most financially vulnerable in Worthing will no longer have to pay any council tax.
Anyone on a low income is entitled to claim council tax support to reduce the amount they must pay in council tax each year, and some residents can have the charge completely removed.
Currently in Worthing all working-age residents must pay a minimum council tax charge of £5 per week, the equivalent of £260.71 per year. This will change in April, after Worthing Borough Council voted to scrap the minimum charge entirely.
The Council wanted to find out if residents were in favour of getting rid of that charge to help the most vulnerable in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.
It launched a public consultation which revealed that more than 72.5% believe the level of Council Tax support for working aged residents should be the same as the rules for pensioners meaning those on the very lowest income would be exempt.
Universal Credit and claiming council tax support
Cllr Emma Taylor, Worthing Cabinet Member for Citizen Services, said: “We want to do all we can to help the least financially resilient, so we were keen to see the end of the £5 minimum charge.
It is great to know the majority of residents agree with scrapping this for those who are really struggling with the rocketing cost of living.
“A saving of £20 per month will offer a small amount of relief to the hardship faced by more than 3,000 households.”
Changes to the system will also make it easier for residents to claim council tax support when they apply for Universal Credit.
Currently, residents have to submit a separate application after claiming Universal Credit, but from April 2023 those eligible for council tax support will automatically receive it after making a Universal Credit claim with the Department for Work and Pensions.
Online survey for the 2023/24 financial year budget
The Council will set its budget for the 2023/24 financial year in February, but first councillors want to know what the community thinks their priorities for investment should be.
It has launched a short online survey for those who live, work or study in the town to give their thoughts on the Council’s budget plans, and how much council tax should be charged.
To take part in the survey for Worthing visit surveys.adur-worthing.gov.uk/worthing-budget-consultation-2023