Council tax scheme will protect vulnerable in South Cambridgeshire

The most vulnerable people in South Cambridgeshire will be protected from reductions in council tax support.

South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) bosses have announced their planned localised council tax support scheme, which will not see big reductions in money received by claimants despite around £1 million less funding being provided to the Council.

Under proposed plans being presented to councillors last Thursday (November 8), which would come into from April, most residents in need of support will not see any change to the council tax discount they receive.

During a recent consultation residents supported plans to remove council tax discounts for people who own an empty or second property, which means extra revenue generated can be used to offset the reduction in government funding and support vulnerable groups on low incomes.

A 50 per cent council tax premium is also planned to be charged on properties that remain empty for more than two years to encourage them to be brought back into use.

Government guidelines meant there can’t be any change to the help pensioners currently receive, and SCDC has also chosen to fully protected people with disabilities, their careers, as well as lone parents with children under five – totalling around three quarters of households claiming support.

If the proposals put forward to councillors are accepted SCDC will also be able to apply for extra funding from the department for communities and local government to help with the transition to localised council tax support schemes.

This funding is only available to councils who fully protect the most vulnerable groups and reductions to other claimants are not reduced by more than 8.5 per cent.

Cllr Simon Edwards, SCDC deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: “We would like to thank residents for taking part in our consultation as we believe we have a scheme that will make sure money stays in the pockets of our most vulnerable residents.

“Any reduction in support is always difficult, but by removing some of the discounts to people with an empty or second home for example, we have managed to make sure people on low incomes are not hit as hard.”

For all the latest news see Thursday’s (November 15) Echo.