Cabinet councillors at Lewes District Council have recommended that council tax support for the worst-off people in the district continues for the next financial year.
Their approval for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) to be extended throughout 2023/24 - subject to adoption at Full Council - is the latest in a series of council initiatives to help local residents through the cost of living crisis.
The CTRS provides financial support to around 3,500 of the most disadvantaged working-age residents, helping to meet their council tax liabilities and allows about 2,000 of those experiencing the greatest hardship to not pay any council tax at all.
Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “It was our priority to put vulnerable residents first when we launched this scheme early this year and now, in the midst of the worst cost of living crisis in half a century, it has become more crucial than ever for thousands of local people.
“I am pleased at today’s decision to continue with this support for next year as it has become a lifeline for many who are suffering extreme financial hardship.”
The council has set up various other initiatives to help people through the cost of living crisis, including:
- A ‘safety net’ fund for residents on a low income who missed out on the government’s £650 cost-of-living payments.
- Discretionary Housing Payments for those who are eligible and potentially facing eviction, with 120 awards confirmed this year.
- The Lewes District Cost of Living Crisis Fund, a grants programme for voluntary and community organisations to provide support to those who are struggling financially.
- Allocation of £50,000 to help local groups set up and run warm spaces across Lewes district during the winter months so people can gather for free in a warm, safe, welcoming place.
- Tenants Open Voice and District News editions have been filled with help and advice on energy saving, food support, grants, budgeting advice for residents and all residents have been sent a letter outlining the support on offer.
- The first Cost of Living Summit was held at the end of October marking a coordinated approach across a range of partners and a second summit is planned for January.
Councillor Nicholson added: “We have committed £750,000 to support local people in need through these difficult times and have brought forward a range of initiatives in recent months.
“Unfortunately, we cannot alleviate all the strain so many people are under but will continue to do all that we can for residents, particularly the most vulnerable, over the coming year.”
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