Some Hastings residents could lose financial support to help pay council tax bills

Council tax bill
Council tax bill

More than 500 Hastings residents could lose out on financial support if changes to the town’s council tax reduction scheme move ahead next week.

At a meeting next Monday (January 7), Hastings Borough Council’s cabinet is expected to consider plans to alter the authority’s council tax reduction scheme – with the preferred proposals affecting 555 residents.

Of these, 242 residents could lose their support completely with the rest losing £5 or more per week.

Currently there are around 9,978 people claiming through the scheme in Hastings,  costing around £10.5m last year.

In a report on the plans, a council officer said the preferred proposals would keep the overall cost of the scheme at a similar level to the current scheme. 

But, the report adds, if current arrangements were to continue, the scheme would be expected to cost around £500,000 more than last year. Most of this additional cost would be met by Government, but between £42,000 and £70,000 would fall to Hastings Borough Council.

The report says the preferred changes attempt to offer a balance between the support available to residents and ‘maintaining essential services in an environment of reduced funding.’

The proposed changes include the loss of both the family premium and a cap on the per child council tax discount after two children.

Anyone claiming through the scheme who lives in a home valued above Band D could also be set to lose out, as the new scheme places a cap on how much can be claimed by these residents.

For example someone living in a Band D property is currently liable to pay up to £36.59 per week while someone in a Band E property is liable to pay up to  £44.72.

However, in all the options being considered, the council would keep its 100 per cent council tax reduction option.

This is unusual, with most councils in England capping the reduction a resident can receive on their council tax bill at around 80 per cent.

If given the go ahead by cabinet members, a final decision on the proposals will be made at a future full council vote.