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.