FULL Council on Wednesday (27 January), will hear plans to maintain Thurrock Council’s Local Council Tax Support Scheme to provide additional stability to Thurrock residents that benefit from the scheme during the uncertain times caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Local Council Tax Support Scheme (LCTS) provides Thurrock residents of working age and who meet the criteria with an opportunity to reduce their Council Tax bill by up to 75%.
Cllr Shane Hebb, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “This scheme provides important financial help to those that truly need support and we are planning to budget £8.5m to it, an increase of £700,000 on last year, to assist them.
“In times like these, we need to make stable what can be stabilised for residents who are in need of support. The council has previously approved a review of the LCTS, but only when more was known about its take up following the introduction of Universal Credit benefits across Thurrock.
“For obvious reasons now is not the right time to carry out that review. Whilst the government has supported working people in unprecedented ways during the pandemic, we need to embed stability where we can and while we can.
“Throughout the pandemic we have seen an increased take up of this support and until we are in a place of greater certainty about the future it is not the right time to look into making any changes.
“Instead we need to provide consistency of support and again provide £8.5m of funding to support the scheme which helps some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents.
“At a point in the future we will ask Thurrock residents to contribute to the review, ensuring that we continue to make certain that those who need help most, get it and that any duplication in the Universal Credit benefit is considered in the scheme. Today, or the near future, is not the time to do that.”