SOME of the poorest residents in the district are set to be hit by changes to council tax.
Stratford District Council is set to save £59,000 a year by charging working age benefit claimants 20 per cent of the annual tax bill. The other 80 per cent will be paid by the council.
The changes are set to affect around 1,500 households which currently have all of their tax paid for.
The tax support was previously covered by changes to discounts and exemptions for second homes and long term empty properties.
But the need to make savings means charges had to be introduced.
They will only affect working age claimants and will not impact pensioners who receive help towards their council tax.
And to protect the most vulnerable residents, it has been proposed a hardship fund should also be introduced.
Spokesman for revenue, Coun Dave Riches said: “The council has taken a measured approach in relation to the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme, having utilised its savings for the past three years to subsidise the scheme.
“We have carried out a consultation and considered a range of factors before deciding whether to implement the proposed changes. The district council recognised the impact that other welfare reforms being implemented could have on residents and kept the scheme unchanged until now.
“The new scheme will reduce the financial burden on the council and the introduction of a hardship fund will provide a safety net for those vulnerable residents who are suffering severe financial hardship which affects their ability to pay council tax.”