Council tax support set for freeze in Kettering

Council tax. Stock image.
Council tax. Stock image.

The rate of council tax the most vulnerable people in Kettering must pay looks set to be frozen.

Currently, the authority’s rate of council tax support stands at 45 per cent - the highest in the country.

Proposals were set out which could have seen that rate increase even further, potentially leaving those in need paying up to 68 per cent of their bill.

But last night (Wednesday), the council’s executive committee recommended unanimously that it is frozen.

The meeting heard a number of speeches from councillors and members of the public, such as Kirsty Woods from Kettering Mind.

She said: “The cost of living has increased and the most vulnerable adults are now at risk.

“Kettering Council has the highest rate in the country and this is affecting people’s quality of life.”

Leader Russell Roberts described the speech as ‘very important’, with fellow Conservative Lesley Thurland saying she had read every person’s view on the plans and saw how it affected them.

A consultation over the proposals saw 78 per cent of people vote for a freeze, with a report saying this was the preferred option.

But Labour councillor Maggie Don criticised the report, saying that the most popular option was in fact a decrease in the portion of the bill to be paid.

She said: “People ticked Option 4 (the freeze) because there was not a fifth option.

“It’s very clear to see the distress this is causing people.”

Today (Thursday), Labour leader Cllr Mick Scrimshaw tabled a motion to reduce the minimum payment to 25 per cent.

He said: “The Labour group think it’s outrageous that Kettering Council already charge the highest rate of council tax to its most vulnerable residents than any other council in the country.

“A view seemingly held by the vast majority of people who responded to the recent public consultation on this issue, and we are extremely disappointed that the option of reducing this amount was not put forward in the consultation and call on the council to bring its rate down to something more like the national average.”

The motion will be heard next Wednesday (December 14).