Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder referred to approval by Cabinet on 20 May 2020 of an Interim Council Tax Discretionary Relief Policy to distribute the Council Tax hardship grant made available by the Government, not specific to Covid-19. Public consultation had been carried out on the proposed policy, and the report provided details on the response.
The Council Tax Discretionary Relief Policy was a permanent Council Policy, and would allow the granting of additional Council Tax support where hardship could be shown. It supplemented the Council’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme approved in February 2020.
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had given consideration to the Council Tax Discretionary Relief Policy at its meeting on 17 July 2020. No additional comments had been raised. The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, however, referred to consultation on the Policy and to a response from Age UK South Lakeland. They felt that consideration needed to be made as to a client’s ability to resume paying their full Council Tax liability following the period of discount applied for and, in addition, sought more information as regards the proposed methods of making residents aware of the scheme, with older people potentially being excluded from additions to websites/social media updates/emails.
Members expressed support for the proposal and the fact that South Lakeland District Council was one of only a handful of authorities offering 100% relief was raised.
The Leader, having thanked the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder and Finance Team for their work, asked the meeting if the motion was agreed. There was no dissent.
RESOLVED – That the Council Tax Discretionary Relief Policy be recommended to Council for approval.
Reasons for Decision
This scheme contributes towards working across boundaries to deliver sustainable communities, creating balanced communities and reducing inequalities so no one is left behind.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
The scheme could be amended to increase, or reduce, discretion in making awards. This would vary the assistance to be awarded. The proposed scheme gives a balance between awarding additional relief and the cost of relief awarded.
Publication date: 24/07/2020
Date of decision: 22/07/2020
Decided at meeting: 22/07/2020 - Cabinet
Effective from: 03/08/2020