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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Kirklees implements new council tax reduction scheme, sparks outcry among residents

The change will be coming in from 1 April, 2024

The “poorest and most disadvantaged” in Kirklees will be seeing an increase in their Council Tax bills next month, as the new Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) comes into effect.

Under the previous scheme, some residents belonged to protected categories and were entitled to a reduction of up to 100 percent. Residents of working age who did not belong to a protected category were required to pay a minimum of 20 percent of their overall bills.

However, this is soon to change, as protected categories have been scrapped under the new scheme and all residents of working age will have to pay a minimum of 25 percent of their council tax bill as of 1 April, 2024. This will result in higher fees for thousands across the borough, with some reporting their shock upon receiving their latest bill.

On top of this, a 4.99 percent Council Tax increase will also be introduced, two percent of which is earmarked for social care services for older residents and local people with disabilities. In total, this means an additional £1.71 per week will be payable for an average Band D property.

Cllr Graham Turner. Image: Kirklees Council

Speaking back in December before the new CTRS was approved, Cabinet Member for Finance and Regeneration, Cllr Graham Turner, described the report as “the worst” he’d had to bring forward and said he was making the recommendations ‘sadly and against all his principles’.

He continued: “We last changed the scheme in April 2018. As you well know many things have happened since then that have had an impact on the finance of the council, so we have undertaken a review of the current scheme.

“Due to the current financial situation caused by the lack of a fair funding scheme for local government and the need to produce a balanced budget next March, we are proposing to reduce the scheme which will save us just under an estimated £4.5m.

“Across the board, we will still have the most generous scheme across West Yorkshire. I know that’s not much solace for our residents but we are committed to helping as many people as we can during the current financial mess the current government has managed to create.

“If we didn’t change the scheme, there would be another £4.5m in cuts to services.”

He added: “It’s heartbreaking to ask our poorest and most disadvantaged to pay more towards the running of the council and to effectively support a failed government who over the last 13 years have brought this country to its knees.”

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