A council tax break extended to aid thousands of struggling Wolverhampton residents who have faced hard times.
Members of the Cabinet of the City of Wolverhampton Council approved several changes to the Council’s Tax Discretionary Discount Scheme (CTDDS) at a meeting on May 26.
The changes mean that more people who previously did not meet the criteria will be helped under the revised policy.
A report to the committee states that the estimated cost of the changes is £ 100,000 per year and will initially be funded from the remaining £ 3.27 million made available by the government.
On the subject of matching items
To date, £ 3.1 million has been spent. The Council Presidents said they would try to include the running costs of the revised CTDDS system in the annual budget.
Leader Ian Brookfield said, “There are times in people’s lives – in fact, we haven’t all gone through one and are still going through one – when people may need additional help.
“You could have gone on vacation and only got 80 percent of your finances. You could put other pressures on your budgets, be it fuel poverty, assistance with food and rising prices.
“What we are proposing are changes to the system to support residents who are outside of the normal criteria but are experiencing financial difficulties.
“Backdating is an important thing. This is a realization of the fact that if you apply today, you may have suffered for two, three, or four months.
“We also intend to extend the period in which discretionary discounts can be granted beyond the current financial year.
“There are other options. We couldn’t have changed anything, but that’s not us in Wolverhampton. We want to look after as many people as possible and take everyone with us.”
Council member Dr. Michael Hardacre added, “I understand that we are not legally required to do so, but we are actually when we are a caring, decent democratic society that is morally compelled to do so.
“Since 2015 the number of child poverty has risen by 15 percent. It is known that over 6,000 children live in poverty.
“Child poverty doesn’t just mean that they don’t get enough to eat. There is a clear causal link between poverty and educational success.”
After the meeting, Councilor Paul Appleby, Vice-Chair of the Panel on Living and Sustainable City Auditing, said: “The Conservative group welcomes this change to the system.
“It is right to widen the scope to support those suffering an extraordinary calamity beyond their control, and I am pleased that the government has allocated funds that have enabled the Council to make this change . “