Maidstone Borough Council has proposed measures to reshape financial support to help low income households struggling financially to pay their Council Tax.
A report was presented to the Council’s Policy and Resources Committee on Wednesday 12 February, setting out procedures that the Council would be able to apply to recover debt and highlighting the role it should play in the economic well-being of some of the residents in the borough.
The proposals outlined in the report would see improved access to information and transparency for residents, businesses and their advisors who may need help. They suggest actions that MBC could take to address and mitigate debt owed to it by low-income households in financial difficulty.
Alison Broom, Maidstone Borough Council Chief Executive said:
“The Council has a key role to play in the social, environmental and economic well-being of the borough and its communities as recognised through the Local Government Act 2000.
“MBC has a statutory duty to prevent homelessness and is committed to greater social mobility, reducing deprivation, as well as creating and sustaining a strong sense of community.
Cllr Martin Cox, Chair of Policy and Resources Committee added:
“Unless our support is effective, there is a risk that arrears will increase, this will compound the vulnerabilities of many low-income households and create further pressure on statutory services including housing advice and support to prevent homelessness.
“Publication of a comprehensive debt recovery procedure would improve access to information and transparency for residents, businesses and their advisors.
“There are likely to be significant benefits for both low income households and the Council from a comprehensive approach to financial inclusion. Investment of a modest amount of funding to bring about improvements would enable a thorough consideration of actions and their potential impacts and would be consistent with the cross-cutting objectives set out in the recently adopted Strategic Plan.”