Oxford City Council maintains tax reduction

first_imgThe Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found in 2019, that nearly 90% of English councils had made cuts to their CTR schemes since the government began to phase out revenue support grants for councils. The most common change has been the elimination of the 100% reduction; two fifths of councils have now increased minimum payments to at least 20%. The measure supports households with the costs of council tax, allowing claimants on low income or benefits to have their bill reduced by up to 100%. Households on weekly incomes of less than £131.99 in 2020 can receive a full exemption from the tax, while households earning over £398 per week become ineligible for any reduction. Marie Tidball, cabinet member for supporting local communities, said in a statement: “Oxford City Council is one of a small handful of councils to retain our council tax reduction scheme at 100% for working age households. Lack of support from the central government has made the cost of the program unfeasible for many councils who have had their budgets cut. Oxford City Council is one of the few remaining local authorities in England to opt to continue fully funding CTR. Oxford City Council has unanimously voted to maintain its council tax reduction (CTR) scheme into 2020/2021 as part of its commitment to tackle poverty and inequality in the city. Since the national council tax benefit was abolished by the government in 2013, councils have been in charge of designing and implementing their own CTR schemes. The program has been estimated by the council to cost £1.6 million in 2019/20, rising to £1.7 million in 2020/21. “This demonstrates our commitment to preventing homelessness and our support for financially vulnerable people in our communities. The 100% discount benefits more than 1,000 households in Oxford. This provides a significant financial benefit for people who have suffered the most from the cumulative impact of policies like welfare reform. Government funding cuts mean that three million more households across England now have to pay some council tax or a greater proportion of their bill than in 2013. I’m proud that Oxford is bucking that trend and that we’re doing what we can to protect people who can least afford to pay the price of austerity.”last_img read more

Wenzel’s spends £1m to revamp and grow outlets

first_imgLondon craft bakery chain Wenzel’s is defying the tough economic climate with a £1m revamp of its 20 stores and plans to boost the chain to 30 outlets in the next year.The Pinner-based company expects the new-look stores to boost takings by at least 10%, with the introduction of new signage and photography, highlighting the company’s craft bakery skills. Wenzel’s packaging and website have also been redesigned and new ’pick-up’ areas will encourage more impulse purchases.The refresh, which has been undertaken with the help of design company Ech, began last month and is expected to be completed by the spring of 2012.At the same time, the company is planning to open a further 10 outlets over the next 12 months, starting with a new store in Edgware this month. Wenzel’s also hopes to open more branches in tube stations, including Victoria and Marylebone, which will join existing sites at Bakerloo and Harrow on the Hill.Sarah Wenzel, owner, said: “Because of the economic climate there are good deals out there on units. We own a lot of our properties freehold, so we are quite a cash-rich business. The expansion will be self-funded.”Sales across the chain have been buoyant since August, she added, thanks to several new initiatives, such as more meal deals, customer feedback schemes and a Facebook campaign. “We’re also more focused on upselling and have invested significantly in staff training,” she said. “We have monthly managers’ meetings where we talk about the products that we need to focus on and have introduced a new bonus scheme.”last_img read more