Changes to rules have been given the go-ahead which will see thousands of people in Stafford Borough not paying any council tax.
Senior councillors at Stafford Borough Council recommended changes be approved to its Local Council Tax Reduction (LCTR) scheme on Thursday (9 February) which will mean some families paying no council tax for the 2023/24 year.
The local authority said that nobody will be worse off because of the move which is aimed at helping a further 1700 residents hit hardest by the cost-of-living crisis.
A report to the council’s Cabinet said: “The council is very aware that current issues relating to increases in the cost of living and to energy bills are causing difficulties for many households, with those on the lowest incomes being affected the most.
“In view of this Cabinet is asked to recommend to council that the 80 percent cap on working age LCTR be removed for the financial year 2022-23. This change would directly mean that an additional 1,700 of the poorest, working aged households will have no Council Tax to pay in that year.”
The Cabinet recommendation would now see a total of more than 4,500 households not having to pay Council Tax from April. Those eligible would have the reduction automatically applied and not need to claim.
Like all local authorities, the borough has its own means tested support to reduce the council tax bills of those residents in lower income groups - and those working aged claimants can get up to an 80 percent reduction on their bill. Some pensioners, people with disabilities and parents of children under five can claim up to a 100 percent reduction.
But with the cost-of-living increases making it even more difficult for residents the council is to let those working aged claimants on low pay get a 100 percent discount - and therefore have nothing to pay in the 2023-24 financial year.
Discounts of up to 60 percent will still be available for those whose income is higher - and you can find out more about from the council website.
The borough council collects council tax on behalf of other public sector organisations such as Staffordshire County Council, who have supported the changes.
Councillor Mike Smith, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “We know some of our lowest income families are being hardest hit by the significant increases in energy bills and the rise in the cost of living for many everyday essential products and services and we are determined to help those most in need where we can.
“Around 1700 extra people in our community could benefit by not having to pay any council tax from April 2023 - and it is also important to stress that nobody will lose out from the proposed changes.”
A final decision on the change will be made by the Full Council later this month.
Press Release No 6000