Fife looks at Council Tax and rent freeze to help in cost of living crisis

Fife Council is considering a freeze on Council Tax as it tries to help people struggling with the cost of living crisis.
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The local authority is also looking at halting council house rent rises for 2023-24 - and extending free school meals.

The proposals were rubber-stamped at a meeting of the council’s cabinet committee yesterday as it unveiled a raft of plans to help people who are now tipping into crisis as energy bills soar in the cost of living crisis.

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But it warned that more intervention from the UK and Scottish Governments is essential for Fife to continue to this support in the future.

Fife House, HQ of Fife CouncilFife House, HQ of Fife Council
Fife House, HQ of Fife Council

Councillors were presented with a detailed action plan to help the people most at risk of poverty across the Kingdom.

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Over £5m of extra help is being poured into services and support.

That includes helping foodbanks, providing hardship grants, creating warm spaces where people can go over winter - and adding a warm coat supplement to school uniform grants.

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Councillor David Ross, Labour leader of the administration, said: “We know the difficulties that Fifers are already facing and that this is only going to get worse in the coming months.“His party’s motion raised the possibility of a full or parietal Council Tax and rent freeze in 2023-24.

Officers have been instructed to examine the implications of such a decision on council finances.

Cllr Ross added: “It may or may not be possible and depends on the money we get from the Scottish Government, but it is something we will give serious consideration to.

“We have also allocated £10m as a Community Recovery Fund , devolved to our local areas. This will help local communities to recover and rebuild from the pandemic as well as providing local funding to help tackle the cost of living crisis.

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“And projects will be approved at local level by councillors who know their communities best.”

The programme has also begun its first steps with a commitment to abolish charges for bulky uplifts to reduce fly-tipping and encourage recycling across the Kingdom.