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Plans to maintain council tax support scheme

Thursday 26 January 2017

A scheme to help people struggling to pay their council tax will be maintained by Sheffield City Council despite the authority facing huge budget pressures.

The council is today announcing that it plans to carry on offering a discount of up to 77 per cent for working age people on low incomes and up to 100 per cent for pensioners who qualify for its Council Tax Support Scheme.

Last year the authority helped just over 52,000 households through the scheme. Altogether Sheffield City Council bills around £220m in council tax each year.

Councillor Ben Curran, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said: “We all know that the government cuts are hitting people hard. That’s why we set up our council tax support scheme, to help people on low incomes manage when the government abolished council tax benefit.

“Despite continued austerity, we will never balance our books on the back of the poor and I am proud that we are not planning any cuts to this scheme. It is important to protect people who need it the most. We know lots of people are struggling to pay their bills and that in-work poverty is a bigger issue than ever. We also know that if we gave less support more people would fall into arrears and that wouldn’t help them, or the council’s finances.”

Sheffield City Council asks people to contact them if they are struggling to pay their council tax. Councillor Curran added: “We have a duty to collect council tax and will use the powers available to us to enforce non-payment. But we ask people to contact us as soon as possible if they’re struggling to pay. We will give advice and help them as much as we can, and it’s always better to get in touch sooner rather than later.”

The council gives extra help under a Council Tax Hardship Scheme that it is also planning to maintain. Funding for this will be determined when the council’s budget for 2017/2018 is agreed in March.

Visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/benefits for more information about Sheffield’s Council Tax Support Scheme.