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Council tax cut for thousands in Bucks

But Buckinghamshire Council say they can't freeze bills during the outbreak, as many have called for.

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Oliver Sirrell at 5:44am 30th April 2020. 3-minute read.

Council tax cut for thousands in Bucks

Thousands of people in Bucks are set to get a council tax break worth up to £150 to support them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Council bosses are set to push through a plan to support the most vulnerable in the county with its council tax hardship fund.

This will see more than ten thousand taxpayers who receive council tax reduction get a £150 cut in their bill this coming year.

Buckinghamshire Council was awarded £2.8 million from the government to help with this measure.

Bucks County Council

It is estimated 13,000 working-age claimants will benefit from the move from a possible 22,000 claimants, according to a council report.

The report suggested council bosses will review the budget after initial awards have been given out to claimants to decide the best way to allocate any remaining funds.

Councillors are expected to nod through the move at a meeting on Thursday, April 30.

This comes after 348 residents signed a petition calling on the authority to exempt council tax payments for at least three months.

One person who signed the petition wrote:

“The week we went on lockdown my council tax went up £30 a month.

“I have never seen an increase so high in the six years I’ve been paying council tax. I’m on minimum wage. That £30 extra makes a massive difference.”

Martin Tett, Leader BCC
Leader Martin Tett responded to the calls for a bill freeze

At a cabinet meeting last week, council leader Martin Tett said:

“I’m getting comments from members of the public saying ‘you must be saving a fortune, the council’s doing nothing, why don’t you give us a council tax rebate?’

“I get why an ordinary member of the public might see that and think that.

“The reality is completely the converse.

“Most of our staff are working. They’re not all doing their day jobs, many of them are doing different jobs helping out right across the county. We are very prominent in terms of support for the vulnerable across the county.

“This is costing a fortune, candidly.

“At the same time our income streams, which we rely on, have effectively almost ceased.

“A lot of the council’s funding comes from council tax and I understand entirely why some parts of the community are finding it hard to pay their council tax.

“We also get significant income from other sources like our car parking, from leisure centres, from waste and from property, but the rental from those properties has dried up at the moment.

“There’s an enormous strain on the council’s finances currently which most residents just won’t see or be aware of and we have appealed to the central government to help us on the funding for that.”

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