LIBERAL Democrats have launched a bid to shield Wychavon taxpayers from the worst of the cost-of-living crisis with a £1million lifeline.
Councillors have proposed changes to the ruling Conservative Party’s budget for the year ahead to help up to 1,000 low-income households over the next three years with their energy bills by improving the energy efficiency of their homes.
They hope the seven-figure sum from council coffers will enable grants to be given towards insulation for homeowners in Council Tax bands A to C.
Deputy group leader Charles Tucker said: “Low-income households may find themselves having to choose between heating and eating.
“We’re calling on Wychavon to help by offering grants to install measures that will have long-term energy saving benefits.
The party has also tabled plans for two further projects of £1 million each, over three years to create new wetlands in river corriders and to improve the energy efficiency of its leisure centres and Droitwich Lido.
“All three projects would be funded from existing reserves so can be achieved at no cost to the taxpayer,” Coun Tucker said.
“Why would they not want to help people by investing in our housing stock, restore wetland habitats lost over generations, work with nature to reduce flooding and cut energy wastage?”
A freeze on Wychavon’s share of the Council Tax bill, millions of pounds for new affordable housing and support for the economy and communities are among new pledges put forward by Tory councillors.
The decision means by the end of March 2023, £1.9million will have been kept by tax payers over the last five years.
Among the promises is £3.7million to invest in new affordable housing schemes in Pershore and Pinvin and investment in sports and leisure facilities in Badsey, Bretforton, Pershore and Inkberrow by March 2025.
Coun Bradley Thomas also confirmed measures had already been included in the budget to support low-income households improve energy efficiency.
“We’re able to do this (freeze Council Tax) because of robust management of our finances over the years and wise investment decisions,” he said.
“This is why we have set out a range of ambitious spending pledges on the things which matter to people – providing more affordable housing, supporting our economic recovery, protecting and improving our environment and supporting our communities.”
The budget will be debated at a meeting on Wednesday (February 23).