3. What is EDDC’s policy?
3.1 This policy meets the corporate priorities of living in this outstanding place by looking after our residents’ health and wellbeing.
It supports these priorities by delivering the following outcomes:
- A safety net to protect our most vulnerable Council Taxpayers who need additional financial assistance.
- Enables support to be given to Council Taxpayers who are in financial or other crisis where no other legislative discounts or reliefs exist.
- Helps Council Taxpayers through personal crisis, difficult events or where there are exceptional circumstances which impacts on their ability to pay.
- Prevents exceptional hardship
- Alleviates poverty
- Helps those who are trying to help themselves
- Sustains tenancies and prevention of homelessness
- Keeps families together
- Encourages and supports people to obtain and remain in employment
3.2 Officers applying this policy will consider whether all other statutory discounts or reliefs have been applied. This policy will normally only consider exceptional circumstances, due to financial need or crisis, where it is appropriate and fair to give a discretionary discount or reduction.
3.3 An application for financial hardship will only need to be made once. Where the Council Taxpayer is in receipt of Council Tax support this will be dealt with under the EHF provision. The same assessment criteria used under the EHF will also be used for all non Council Tax support customers who are applying for a reduction under Section 13a1c on the grounds of financial hardship.
3.4 When considering an application on financial grounds, the Council Taxpayer will be required to provide details of household income and expenditure, savings, capital, debts, etc. The assessment we will make for determining financial hardship will take account of only reasonable priority expenditure * against income but will not take account of any non essential expenditure, as Council Tax is a priority bill. Part of the assessment may include referral to an independent money advice and budgeting advice service.
* Priority expenditure is based upon Citizens Advice Bureau guidance.
3.5 Where funding has been provided by Central Government any discretionary discounts that are made will be based upon the guidance and criteria that the Government issues, subject to EDDC agreeing to adopt this.