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Council agrees package of financial support

Issued: 25 January 2024

An aid package full of financial proposals aimed to help South Hams’ residents and businesses has been approved by South Hams District Council’s Executive.

Following the meeting today, Thursday, 25 January, proposals will now be progressed to the Full Council in February for consideration.

The Council continues to help vulnerable residents who need support, through their Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS). Following a public consultation held in November last year, which asked residents what their thoughts were on changes to the current scheme. The Executive listened carefully to public opinion and voted in response to make several changes to further support beginning from 1 April 2024. These are in addition to those already in place, which continue for the coming year.

The new measures included:

  • The removal of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for self-employed workers

This is valuable to self-employed workers in the District, because normally the Minimum Income Floor suggests that these workers are earning a certain level of profit, linked to the national minimum wage, even if they didn’t earn that amount. By removing this, self-employed workers will receive more financial support.

  • To ignore all the ‘Limited Capability for Work’ element of Universal Credit

By ignoring 100% of the limited capability for work element of Universal Credit, we will be able to support more residents who are only able to work a certain amount of hours due to health conditions and disabilities.

Retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses are also set to benefit from rate relief after the Executive agreed a policy to help traders through the cost-of-living crisis. The national funding was announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Budget. The new scheme for 2024/2025 will provide eligible, occupied retail hospitality and leisure properties with 75% relief up to £110,000 per business. It is expected that 395 businesses will benefit from the rate relief.

The empty homes premiums are there to encourage empty properties to be brought back into use. It is hoped this will help to ease the pressure on the housing crisis within the district and provide more homes for residents. Money raised from the income gained by South Hams District Council will be used to address local district challenges and aims, linked to corporate priorities.

The Executive voted to approve the following:

  • Premiums ranging from 100% - 300 % depending on the length of time empty homes have been unoccupied from 1 April 2024
  • To double Council Tax on Second Homes from 1 April 2025

Cllr Julian Brazil, Leader of South Hams District Council, said: “We are working to address the economic problems our district is faced with due to the cost of living crisis and we are making headway. As always with difficult situations, there is more ground to cover but we’re positive about the changes we’re making.

“We’ve decided on a funding approach, which we feel is best suited to help the residents and businesses and deliver the Council’s key priorities for our communities. Our ambition is to channel as much energy, support and funding into projects that have the community at the heart where we work together to meet those aims, then we’ll be successful.”

To find out more information on each of the reports discussed during Executive, go to: www.southhams.gov.uk/executive

The meeting can be viewed in full on South Hams District Council’s YouTube channel www.youtube.com/@SouthHamsCouncil

Posted in SHDC.