Council tax support in Peterborough frozen for next year

Outside the Council chamber at Peterborough Town Hall on Bridge Street. Photo: Paul Franks/Peterborough Telegraph

Outside the Council chamber at Peterborough Town Hall on Bridge Street. Photo: Paul Franks/Peterborough Telegraph

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Support for some of the poorest residents in Peterborough to pay their council tax is being frozen for another year at a reduction of 30 per cent.

Council tax support was cut by 30 per cent in Peterborough City Council’s 2013/14 budget after its government funding was reduced by £2.3 million, but despite further funding cuts the the figure has been kept the same since.

And on Monday it was agreed to maintain the figure at the current rate for another year from April as well as introduce a council tax discretionary hardship policy with a budget of £50,000.

The money will help people receiving council tax support who are experiencing significant financial hardship and who have demonstrated that they have made the effort to control their finances and seek advice.

Council cabinet member Councillor Peter Hiller said: “I stress that pensioner households remain exempt for this scheme.

“We believe the proposals stick to the right balance.”

The decision on council tax support comes as the council finalises its 2016/17 budget.

The council has already announced how it will tackle £12.1 million of the £19.6 million deficit it faces for the next financial year, and it will reveal at the end of the month how it plans to remove the remaining £7.5 million deficit.

The most controversial reduction announced so far is a saving of £2 million each year until 2036/37 by repaying less of the capital debt, although in the long run this will mean paying back an extra £5.7 million due to increased interest payments.

A decision on whether to raise council tax has not yet been made, but a two per cent rise has currently been budgeted in for next year with a final decision to be made soon.

The council has frozen council tax for the last three years, and if it extends that for another 12 months then it will add to its deficit by £1.2 million.