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Sedgemoor's poorest will pay council tax from April
CHANGES which will land some of the poorest households in Sedgemoor with council tax bills for the first time in April have been confirmed.
The Weekly News reported last year how Sedgemoor District Council was faced with finding more than £1million of savings for a new council tax benefits scheme.
Back then, the council said the only way of doing that was to “share the impact across all 5,315 working age customers”, meaning some people on very low incomes or certain benefits, who previously have had to pay no council tax, would have to start doing so.
The council’s original suggestion was to make everybody pay at least 20% of their council tax bill, regardless of their circumstances.
But measures agreed at a full council meeting yesterday will mean the poorest people only have to pay a minimum of 15% of their bill - which would be around £140 a year for the cheapest Band A home.
The council said it had faced difficult choices “in the face of significant national funding cuts”, and while it had reduced the impact of the original proposals the measures “would still cause concerns for those residents affected.”
A spokesman said: “The new scheme has taken these concerns into consideration, where possible, and does include provision to provide discretionary awards to the most vulnerable council tax payers, for example those facing exceptional financial hardship.
“The new scheme also includes consideration of child maintenance income, which was previously disregarded in full.
“The new scheme only disregards child maintenance income at a rate of £65.62 per week per child, so income less than £65.62 per week per child, is not taken into account when assessing your council tax benefit.”
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