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News from Millmead

Published on: 25 Sep, 2020
Updated on: 27 Sep, 2020

Latest round-up of news from Guildford Borough Council (published on September 25, 2020)

Time to have your say on council tax support

Residents are being asked to have their say on the borough council’s local council tax support scheme.

Since 2013, it has reviewed and updated the scheme every year, after regular wide consultation.

Last year, some asked for more information on the feedback provided so a more detailed explanation of the changes is included this year.

Cllr Tim Anderson

Cllr Tim Anderson (R4GV, Clandon & Horsley), lead for finance, commercial asset management and procurement, explained: “There are proposed changes to the 2021- 22 scheme. First, an increase in personal allowances, the basic amount a specific type of household is expected to need each week, for example, a family, couple or single person.

“The allowance is based on government welfare allowances for housing benefit which provides help with rent. This is for a single person over 25 needing £74.35 per week and a couple £116.80. There are extra allowances available for children.

“Second, an increase in premiums which provides extra money for being a carer or for those who have a disability. And finally, an increase in non-dependant deductions, the contribution those aged 18 or over are expected to make to the household they live in.

“Non-dependant deductions are banded, so someone with a very low income pays a smaller contribution to the household each week. The contributions range from £4.05 for someone who is unemployed to £12.50 for someone earning about £24,000 a year.

“In simple terms, the personal allowances, premiums and non-dependant deductions create an income allowance which is compared to income which determines the level of help to be given. Increasing all of these will make sure the help will not be reduced due to inflation.”

About 62% of working-age recipients of the support scheme have 100% of their council tax paid. Just more than 90% have 50% or more of it paid. The scheme is among very few that does not require everyone to pay something, regardless of their circumstances.

The council also has a hardship fund for those affected by scheme’s rules. Actual income and expenditure are reviewed when making awards. The fund is not intended for long-term support but does ensure those most in need can get help with their council tax.

For those wishing to comment, click here.

The consultation will close at 5pm on Thursday, October 15 with the final decision on the scheme made on December 8.

Lottery helps raise £100k for good causes

The Guildford Community Lottery has celebrated a major milestone in its fundraising efforts for local good causes.

Since its launch in September 2018, it has has raised £100,000 for 130 local charities and organisations.

The lottery, which boasts a top prize of £25,000 and is run by Gatherwell on behalf of the borough council, helps charities and good causes by linking them directly to their supporters. They keep 50% of all ticket sales from their own dedicated free community lottery webpage.

A further 10% of proceeds go to Guildford Philanthropy, a charity founded by the council in 2014 to help transform the lives of less fortunate members of the community.

Tickets cost just £1 per week, with participants having a one-in-56 chance of winning a prize. Ticket holders who match the weekly six-number combination claim the £25,000 jackpot.

All tickets purchased before Saturday, October 31, at 8pm also go into a nationwide draw to win a Forest Holidays cabin break at one of 11 sites across Britain, worth up to £500.

New guidance to ensure low carbon, sustainable development

Housing developments in the borough will have lower carbon emissions, be more sustainable and better able to meet the challenge of climate change after new guidance was adopted at a meeting of the council’s Executive on Tuesday, September 22.

Going under the name of the Climate Change, Sustainable Design, Construction and Energy Supplementary Planning Document, the guidance covers all types of residential development.

Areas covered include low-energy design, sustainable building materials, water and energy efficiency, sustainable lifestyles and resilience to climate change.

It will be used by land promoters, who identify sites for development, and housing developers in preparing their proposals before they are submitted for public consultation and council assessment.

Animal welfare work rewarded

The council has retained its Bronze Animal Activity Licensing Award from the RSPCA PawPrints Awards for the second consecutive year.

The awards celebrate and recognise five areas of good practice in animal welfare. These categories are stray dog services, contingency planning, housing policy, animal activity licensing and kennelled dog welfare. Organisations presented with the award have gone over and above basic and statutory service requirements.

The council advises that people considering buying a puppy or kitten can now only buy directly from a licensed breeder – not a shop or third party. Make sure you check the seller is licensed beforehand.

Cllr James Steel.

Cllr James Steel (Lib Dem, Westborough), lead councillor for the environment, said: “We regularly inspect licensed businesses to make sure they meet the required high standards of care and that businesses have relevant experience or qualifications looking after pets.

“We also encourage residents to let us know if they come across an unlicensed business that look after dogs. Unlicensed businesses are unlikely to have valid insurance. If you come across any, do not use it and report it to us by calling 01483 505050.

“Last year, we changed the way we help stray dogs by launching a new service operated by Dogbusters, who collect stray dogs and bring them back to their owners. The service is in operation 24/7 including bank holidays.”

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