The council’s ruling Labour Group have pledged to spend three million pounds supporting the poorest people in the city with an 80% council tax discount. One in six children in Brighton and Hove are now living in poverty, and we have a duty to do what we can to help.
Council Leader Warren Morgan said: "The Government is again cutting nearly two million pounds this year from the support we give to residents on the lowest incomes to help pay their council tax. Despite this, we are proposing to continue to pay 80% of their council tax bills, more than many similar councils do."
“Despite Government cuts of almost two million pounds to the fund that pays the discount, we will still be paying 80% of the council tax of those on the lowest incomes, and be asking no-one to pay more than £1.65 extra a week. Most will pay less than £1 extra per week. We’d like to do more but this subsidy will cost us £3 million, twice as much as this year, at a time when our budget is being cut severely. We have listened to residents, and we will do all we can to ensure people have access to advice, support and additional funds if they are experiencing hardship.”
The Labour Administration will put forward the subsidy proposal to next month’s Policy and Resources Committee, at a cost next year of £3 million. The cost in the current financial year to the council is £1.5 million. The discount, officially called “Council Tax Reduction”, was handed to local authorities two years ago by the Government, who are reducing funding for it each year. It was formerly known as council tax benefit, and around 16,000 households receive the discount.
Under Government rules, pensioners who qualify receive a 100% discount.
The level of discounts Labour is backing should also be seen as part of many measures Labour is already taking to help combat poverty and income inequality in the city. These include the plans for affordable homes, apprenticeships, the elimination of youth unemployment and action on homelessness, as well as the Fairness Commission.
The council’s consultation on the draft Council Tax reduction scheme for working age people ended on 20th October 2015.
The decision about the Council Tax reduction scheme will be made at Policy and Resources Committee on 3rd December 2015.