Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet has agreed two important measures as it moves to help residents tackle the rising cost of living.
Meeting on Tuesday, 17 January, members agreed to recommend to the full council to continue the current council tax support scheme for 2023/24, and to refresh its Supporting Communities Strategy and Action Plan.
Under the scheme, residents of working age on low incomes can get up to an 88% reduction in their council tax bills. Pensioners on the lowest incomes can receive up to a 100% deduction via a national scheme.
The Cabinet also agreed to allocate a further £20,000 for this year and next to help those experiencing exceptional hardship. This doubles the amount already set aside.
The Supporting Communities Strategy and Action Plan, which sets out how the council and its partners will help tackle inequalities and deprivation locally - will now include the rising cost of living as a key area. This will include a greater focus on how rising inflation and bills can affect residents’ health and wellbeing.
The plan is currently focused around four priority areas: economic hardship; young people – (resilience and aspirations); physical and mental health and connecting communities.
The council and its partners have developed a range of opportunities and projects to support these four priorities, including the Community Grub Hub, Nepali Community Champions, Rushmoor Repair Café and the North Hants Youth Hub. Residents struggling with keeping warm at home can also make use of special warm and welcoming places - to connect with others, study or work.
Councillor Paul Taylor, the council’s Cabinet member for Corporate Services, said: “The past few years we have been through, with the pandemic, sharply increasing energy bills and the rising cost of living, make it even more important that we should be supporting the most vulnerable in our communities. At this challenging time these two measures will allow us to focus more on helping residents. “
Councillor Sue Carter, Cabinet member for Democracy, Strategy and Partnerships, added: “We want to do everything we can to support our residents through these challenging times. Providing more of a focus on the cost of living in the revised Supporting Communities Strategy and Action Plan and working with our partners on projects and initiatives around this, will help us to do this.”
Residents can visit the council's council tax support pages to find out if they are eligible for the scheme.