South Oxfordshire District Council and Vale of White Horse District Council are to extend the support they are providing to help working age people who are struggling to pay their council tax as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The move could benefit more than 3,000 households across the two districts.
In June the two councils provided up to £150 discount off 2020/21 council tax bills for residents on lower incomes who qualify for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
With Covid-19 continuing to impact many people financially, the councils have now agreed to increase this support and will be providing an additional discount for these residents on top of the one they received last summer.
This means that those working age people who qualify for the means tested Council Tax Reduction Scheme will now receive up to a further £255 off the 20/21 bill for those in the Vale and up to £270 off for those in South Oxfordshire. The discount will be applied automatically, meaning that those entitled to the discount will receive a revised bill, but they will not have to apply or contact the council first.
The discount is being paid for by a government hardship fund which was announced last year.
The government hasn’t suspended council tax during the pandemic and so it still needs to be paid. If you are struggling to pay your bill please visit southoxon.gov.uk/counciltax or whitehorsedc.gov.uk/counciltax to find out about the support available or call 0345 302 2313 (South) or 0345 302 2315 (Vale).
Cllr Leigh Rawlins, Cabinet Member for Finance at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “I’m pleased that we have now been able to approve this additional discount. We are putting this additional discount in place to make sure that those who need support the most will receive it. For many families and individuals this will make a real difference over the next couple of months.”
Cllr Andy Crawford, Cabinet Member for Finance at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “While we are providing this additional discount to support those on low income, many of whom have had to claim council tax reduction for the first time, we are very aware that there will be others who have new or increased financial worries following the Coronavirus pandemic. There are a number of ways we can help people in this situation to manage their council tax payments and to avoid getting into debt. If you are struggling to pay your bills our council tax team are here to help and so I urge you to get in touch with then as soon as possible.”