Plans to remove minimum council tax charge
Residents will be given a chance to have their say on plans to scrap council tax payments for those in Worthing in the most financial difficulty.
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.
In Worthing however, currently all working-age residents must pay a minimum council tax charge of £5 per week, the equivalent of £260.71 per year. The new administration at Worthing Borough Council is keen to get rid of that minimum charge and wants to hear the public’s views on what support should be made available to those who most need it.
Support for residents in financial difficulty
Cllr Dr Beccy Cooper, the Leader of the Council, said: “With the cost of living crisis, we are all experiencing some very tough financial times at the moment and we believe it is essential to support those most in need. A saving of £20 per month would make a massive difference to those struggling to heat their homes and feed their families.
“We want to hear the views of the public on whether there should a minimum payment set at a lower rate, or whether people think the rules for determining 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.”
Currently, low income residents who have to pay the £5 a week charge in Worthing can claim help from the Council’s discretionary fund. This was introduced in April 2015 to help those in severe financial difficulty.
With the introduction of a new scheme, the discretionary support could be ended, which would produce a net saving of £33,900 to offset the loss of income for the Council. As a result the net cost to the Council is likely to be around £141,000 in 2023/24, depending on the level of council tax set for the year.
Meeting dates and venue for public consultation
The consultation period has yet to be set but the Council will seek feedback from individuals and community groups. Any potential changes could come into effect from April 1st, 2023.
Worthing’s Joint Strategic Sub-Committee will discuss the council tax support scheme at a meeting on Tuesday 6th September from 6.30pm at the Shaftesbury Room in Worthing Leisure Centre.
The venue has been selected as part of the Council’s new approach to hold public meetings at community venues across the borough instead of at the town hall, to allow more people to have their say.