West Devon residents and businesses are set to receive financial support from a range of proposals, which has today, Tuesday 30 January, been approved by West Devon Borough Council’s Hub.
The Borough Council continues to help residents on a low income, through their Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS). Following a public consultation held at the end of last year, residents were asked what their thoughts were on changes on the current scheme. Although there was a limited response to the consultation, most of those who did respond agreed with the suggestions put forward by the Council.
Thoroughly considering the information, the Hub then voted in favour of the proposals. If further agreed by Full Council in February, these will come into effect from 1 April 2024. This support is in addition to the scheme already in place, which continues for the coming year.
The new measures included:
- To ignore all the ‘Limited Capability for Work’ element of Universal Credit
By ignoring the 100% limited capability work element of Universal Credit, we will be able to support more residents who are only able to work a certain amount of hours due to health conditions and disabilities.
- The removal of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for self-employed workers
This is significant to self-employed workers in the Borough, since the Minimum Income Floor usually suggests that self-employed workers are earning a certain level of profit, linked to the national minimum wage, despite some not earning that amount. By removing this, these workers will receive more support with paying their council tax.
Also set to benefit from rate relief, are hospitality, retail, and leisure businesses after the Hub agreed a Policy to help traders through the cost-of-living crisis. The national funding was announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Budget. The new scheme starting in April, will provide eligible occupied retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a 75% relief up to a cash cap of £110,000 per business. The Council expects approximately 400 businesses will benefit from this 75% relief rate.
The council tax empty homes premiums are there to encourage empty properties to be brought back into use. It is hoped this will help to ease the pressure on the housing crisis within the Borough and provide more homes for residents. West Devon Borough Council will use funding raised from the income to focus on their Council Plan’s priorities for the Borough.
The Hub voted to approve the following:
- Premiums ranging from 100% - 300 % depending on the length of time empty homes have been unoccupied from 1 April 2024
- To double Council Tax on Second Homes from 1 April 2025
Cllr Mandy Ewings, Leader of West Devon Borough Council, said: “It’s important to us that we do whatever is in our financial means to help those residents who are struggling to cope. The funding will offer some help to eligible businesses who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis especially out of the busier seasons when it's harder to get by.”
To find out more information on each of the reports discussed during Hub, go to: www.westdevon.gov.uk/Hub
The meeting can be viewed in full on West Devon Borough Council’s YouTube channel www.youtube.com/@westdevonboroughcouncil23