Council tax support for those on low incomes
PEOPLE on low incomes will be protected from council tax price hikes in two neighbouring councils.
Both South Hams and West Devon have announced they will be protecting the "most vulnerable" in their boroughs by introducing new Government approved financing measures.
South Hams, which includes Ivybridge on the outskirts of Plymouth, will be abolishing the 10 per cent council tax discount that it currently gives to its 4,200 second home owners and will be asking them to pay the full amount come April. It will also be charging an extra 50 per cent tax on home owners who are in possession of homes which have remained empty for more than two years.
Leader of the district council Councillor John Tucker said they were trying to prevent the poorest in the area from being hit too hard by Government spending cuts.
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He said: "Our poorest residents are already being hit by several cuts in benefits in 2013 and we need to protect them as much as we can. We feel that second home owners in particular should contribute fully to our communities at a time when budgets are tight."
West Devon council will introduce the same measures but councillors warned that the tax freeze on those with low incomes cannot be expected to last.
Councillor Philip Sanders said: "We are giving West Devon residents 12 months breathing space before reviewing the council tax support system, which will inevitably mean making some tough decisions."