Help is at hand for residents in the county needing support to pay council tax.
Funding of up to £3 million has been allocated by West Sussex County Council for the second year running to provide support for households experiencing financial pressures during the pandemic and in the year ahead.
The latest announcement brings the total committed over the last two years to supporting local households to up to £6m. An adjustment is being made to the upcoming annual budget proposals to reflect this.
The funds are for additional discretionary relief, administered by District and Borough councils, for working age residents claiming Council Tax reduction relief who can benefit from having their Council Tax bill reduced by up to £150. This is separate from recent announcements national government to support Council Tax payers in Bands A to D which are due to be introduced in the year ahead.
This latest County Council funding allocation means districts and boroughs can continue distributing the additional discretionary relief for a further year.
Paul Marshall leader of the council said: “This has been a very challenging time for many in our county. We have listened to concerns from residents about the rising costs of living on top of the pressures of the pandemic. We know this is a national issue and measures are being taken at all levels to support those most affected. As you would expect, we have been working on this at a county level and today’s announcement forms part of our financial planning.”
In a couple of weeks all West Sussex County Councillors will debate the annual budget proposals for 2022/23 which align with the council’s corporate strategy Our Council Plan. As part of the annual budget a Council Tax rise for 2022/23 of 2.99 per cent is proposed, including a 1 per cent rise for adult social care.
Cllr Marshall added: “Our budget proposals show how we are delivering our commitments to the county in a financially responsible and resilient way. The proposed Council Tax rise is below the rate of inflation and provides essential funds for services, but we know that any rise is a worry for some households. This is why we will continue to look at new ways to help those in need.”
West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Finance, Jeremy Hunt, said: “The Council Tax Hardship Scheme, which is managed through our District and Borough colleagues, has been a great success this year. I am very pleased that we are able to continue to offer support to those in need through our commitment of up to a further £3m in order to extend the scheme for another year. This scheme clearly demonstrates the County Council’s support for our residents, particularly those who, for whatever the reason, need help the most.”
The details of this proposal will be included in the Budget Papers which are due to be published later this week ahead of Full Council on Friday 18 February.