New council tax reduction puts 'most vulnerable first'

Cabinet councillors at Lewes District Council have recommended an increase in council tax support for the worst-off people in the district. 

Subject to adoption at Full Council, the new council tax reduction scheme means those of working age and in greatest hardship will not have to pay anything.

Since 2013 when the government stopped the national Council Tax Benefit scheme, local authorities have been responsible for putting in place local schemes to help working-age residents on a low income to pay their council tax.

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Leader of Lewes District Council, said: “I defy anyone to not support a new council tax reduction scheme that puts the most vulnerable first. These are people who stare poverty in the face every day of their lives.

“They have to make choices in life that the majority of us take for granted, whether that’s food on the table, clothes on the backs of their children or how to pay the latest ‘final demand’.”

Lewes District Council will also continue to operate the exceptional hardship scheme that helps people who are struggling most to pay their bills.

Councillor Chris Collier, Cabinet Member for Performance and People, said: “Covid has left some lives in our communities in tatters, with loved ones lost, businesses failed and job losses sending more people than ever to the food banks.

“How in good conscience can we know this is happening and not act to do something to help.”