To receive a report from the Leader of the Council on the business of the cabinet and on matters that the leader considers should be drawn to the council’s attention. The leader shall have 10 minutes to make his announcements.
The opposition group will have an opportunity to reply to the leader’s remarks. The opposition group leader shall have 5 minutes to respond after which the Leader of the Council will have a right of reply. Any right of reply will be for a maximum duration of 5 minutes.
The Leader gave the following announcements:
Thank you Chairman and Good Evening to you all.
Tonight, I am going to talk about the government’s tax rebate scheme and KCC’s Helping Hands Scheme.
Starting with the Helping Hands Scheme this scheme run by KCC will offer fuel vouchers towards heating bills and essential items related to keeping warm to support households facing financial hardship as a direct result of the Coronavirus pandemic. This is a separate scheme to the one Kent Support and Assistance Service provide. They provide crisis funding to lower income households whereas this scheme is aimed at householders who require help with their fuel costs.
There are 4 eligibility requirements
1) Must be earning below £30,000 within the household
2) Be aged 16 or over
3) Live in Kent
4) Have no savings or support from other sources and whilst not an absolute requirement, loss of earnings as a direct result of covid 19 will be a contributing factor on deciding eligibility.
If eligible they can apply for up to 3 vouchers towards their heating bill or essential items such as boiler repairs, temporary heaters thick curtains or blanket.
If you need to refer someone for this support please direct them to the ‘Household Support Fund’ on the council’s web pages in the first instance.
Coming onto the Govt Council Tax rebate to help households with the increased cost of energy bills. This will apply, with a few exceptions, to all Band A – D households. A government leaflet has been provided for inclusion with the 21/22 tax bills which will be going out shortly.
How we will pay back the rebate has not yet been fully established although for those that pay by DD that is around 28,000 properties, will be reimbursed through that system. The rest, about 14,000 properties, will be paid probably by BACS transactions to their bank account. As I say we are still working out the details of this, the system will be in place for April this year. The reason it is not in place yet, is that we are awaiting confirmation of the system to use from the Government.
Finally, I am pleased to say that our bid to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund has been successful to the tune of £2 million.
This will enable over 100 of the poorest performing homes to be made more efficient and save 358 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
Councillor McConville responded on behalf of the opposition. I think the social housing decarbonisation fund is an essential fund to the root cause, the larger reason why we are having to give out this additional money where we can get our social housing, ideally all our housing to a greener standard and to reduce peoples fuel bills can only be an amazing thing.
Any funding we can get to give to our residents is going to be so welcome this year with the current state of the world this year and it doesn’t look like it will get any better anytime soon in terms of people paying for their bills, heating and general living. I would welcome those funds.
I would also like to say the recent website where it is showing quite clearly on the homepage linking to all the financial support the council provides is brilliant and should stay on the homepage of the site permanently to allow people who find it hard to navigate websites, easy to check and get that financial support. Thank you to officers for putting that front and centre.
Proposed by Councillor David Monk
Seconded by Councillor Mrs Jenny Hollingsbee and
Resolved: That the announcements of the Leader be noted.
(Voting: For 29; Against 0; Abstentions 0)