Bay councillors urged to support council tax campaign

Torbay Weekly

A campaign has been launched in Torbay to help people struggling to pay council tax bills.

It comes from the Torbay Labour Local Campaign Forum who have written to every councillor in the Bay asking them to support a 100 per cent council tax reduction scheme.

The Forum has told the councillors: "You may know that prior to the introduction of Universal Credit, households on low incomes could get a 100 per cent reduction in council tax. Under subsequent arrangements each local authority can establish their own scheme which sets a minimum rate which each household must pay.

"Torbay has set this rate at 30 per cent which means even those on the lowest levels of income have to pay this amount. Neighbouring Teignbridge has set their level at 0 per cent along with many other Councils. Even South Hams levies only 15 per cent.

"You will know the Government has withdrawn the £20 per week uplift for those on Universal Credit. The regulator has permitted substantial increases in energy prices, which are now forecast to go even higher this year, food prices are increasing and other every day costs are increasing alarmingly, which will impact most on the lowest income households.

"Evidence shows that in Torbay most of these households are in work, many are single parents, and a large proportion are households with children. The main impact of not having a reduction scheme in Torbay is that this winter those who are innocent and most vulnerable will be at greatest risk of going hungry and cold. A significant number of these are likely to be your constituents."

The Forum says council leader Steve Darling is on record saying that 'one of the Council’s priorities is to tackle poverty in the Bay. The introduction of a council tax reduction scheme would give voice to this commitment.

"We hope you can support this move and put pressure on the present council administration to include this measure in their budget proposals for 2022-2023."

Forum secretary Eddie Harris added: "I have received acknowledgement of our letter to councillors from Cllr Darling, who has passed the matter over to council officers for consideration during the council budget consultation period."