We will not put more pressure on financially vulnerable residents says Richmond Council

Release Date: 07 September 2018

The Council will consult on axing council tax contributions for the most hard-pressed residents, following agreement at this week's Cabinet meeting. 

Earlier this year, the Cabinet Member for Finance announced the Council's intention to reverse the previous Council policy, where the most financially disadvantaged residents must contribute a minimum of 15% towards their council tax.

At this week's Cabinet Meeting, members agreed a consultation on changes to the council tax reduction scheme, removing the minimum council tax contribution level from next April. In addition, Members agreed to continue with the Local Assistance Scheme (LAS). This provides support for residents with specific hardship needs as well as help with energy bills in the winter.

The Council is also proposing to establish a small fund that will be allocated to those vulnerable residents who are not eligible for the LAS. Discussions are underway with Citizens Advice Richmond to see if they would be willing to administer the scheme.

Cllr Robin Brown, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance, said: 

"Since May, we have been clear we will not take from our most disadvantaged residents to balance the Council's books.

"We said in our manifesto that we would reverse the previous changes to the council tax reduction scheme and we are delivering on that commitment. Putting more pressure on financially vulnerable residents who already face genuine hardship isn't fair. 

"Council finances are strained. Our Government funding has been slashed, but whilst we continue to look after the Council's finances carefully, it will not be at the expense of those who are financially vulnerable.

"We will ensure fairer finances for all and manage the Council's finances responsibly. We will invest your council tax in good local services, whilst protecting the most disadvantaged in our community."

Notes for editors

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Reference: P443/18

Updated: 26 September 2018