At tonight’s Council meeting, a Council Tax increase of 2.99% for the 2022/2023 financial year was approved. Of this, 1% is ringfenced for Adult Social Care services.
Cllr Jayne Aston, Cabinet Member for Resources, said “Unfortunately, we have very little choice than to increase Council Tax. Central Government expect local council to increase Council Tax by the maximum amount. If we didn’t generate income in one of the very few ways available to us, central Government would reduce the amount of funding we receive through the local government funding settlement.
“The income raised through Council Tax is invested back into services that support our residents. The Adult Social Care income will support our ageing population and the demand for our services which is increasing year on year. Ultimately, we want to ensure that residents can stay in their own home for longer without the need for residential or nursing home accommodation.”
The increase equates to an additional £32 per year for a Band A property in Knowsley (which is the majority of residents). For those residents most at need, the Council Tax Reduction scheme will reduce this increase to just under £6.50 a year.
The Government has recently announced a £150 grant with a view to helping households to cope with rising energy costs. The Government’s scheme applies to those households in Council Tax property bands A to D and payments will start to be made from April 2022 onwards. In Knowsley 97% of households are in bands A to D and will benefit from the grant.
For those households that currently pay their Council Tax by Direct Debit, it is likely that the grant will be transferred directly into their bank accounts. Discussions with the Government and software providers are continuing to agree the best route to support those households who have not currently provided their local authorities with confirmed bank account details. If you don’t currently pay for your Council Tax via direct debit, you can set one up through the Council’s online services or call the team on 0151 443 4476.
Cllr Jayne Aston added “We have established a number of schemes to support our residents, particularly following the challenges the pandemic has thrown at us. This includes the Knowsley Better Together Hardship Fund that has supported residents with essentials such as food and heat.
“The Council can also provide support to anyone who is worried about falling behind with their Council Tax payments. They can arrange an instalment plan to make your payments more manageable, offering you a different payment date to tie in with your own payment cycle, you can spread the cost over 12 months rather than 10 months which will reduce your monthly amount, we can also offer tailored advice through our Money Advisor. To request an appointment, call 0151 443 4150.”
Council Tax bills, including the full breakdown of costs, will be posted to all properties over the coming weeks.
You can find out more about the Council’s budget in this short film.