Conservatives cut council tax help for Islanders on low incomes
By Andrew Garratt
Island residents on low incomes who qualify for council tax support will have to pay more from April this year.
The cut from 70% support to 65% was pushed through by the ruling Conservative group at a meeting of the Isle of Wight full council (20 January 2020).
Lib Dem councillors Andrew Garratt and Reg Barry put forward an amendment to the proposals to keep the current level of support. This was defeated by 20 Conservative votes to 17 (Lib Dems, independents, and one Conservative).
Cutting support to residents who are already among the hardest hit financially cannot be right. This is especially so when so many more are facing hardship due to loss of jobs and income because of the Covid crisis.
Andrew and Reg also backed calls to for more to be done to publicise the hardship fund for those who are struggling to pay their council tax bill. The fund is nowhere near as helpful as amendment would have achieved put forward but Andrew and Reg hope that more people will make use of it to keep from falling into council tax arrears.