THOUSANDS of Islanders — who will have to contribute to their council tax for the first time — will receive advice from the Isle of Wight Council.
The Isle of Wight Council will send out letters to around 8,500 people explaining how they will be affected after plans to cut council tax benefit and the second home discount were approved earlier this year.
Vulnerable people including pensioners, disabled people, and those with children will protected, but those of working-age will be asked to contribute 8.5 per cent of their council tax bill in the first year, costing on average £1.50 per week, which will increase to 20 per cent, or around £3.60 per week in the second year.
Ian Lloyd, IW Council benefits manager, said: "The letters will be explaining the background to the changes and also give advice on how the payment can now be spread over twelve months as opposed to the customary ten, particularly to help those residents who may be paying the charge for the first time.
"We are aware the changes to the scheme will place a new responsibility on thousands of residents so we are keen to give these people as much information as possible.
"We hope the letters will make it clear to people how they will be required to contribute when the new bills are issued later this year."
Council leader Cllr David Pugh said: "The challenge was to come up with a scheme that protected the most vulnerable residents but also did not place an undue burden on families who may already be struggling to meet the rising cost of living.
"We believe that it is fair that all people who are eligible to work make a contribution, albeit a small one in percentage terms, to the services they receive from the council."
The council approved the local council tax support scheme in January meaning that those who previously qualified for the full benefit, but do not fall under the exempt categories, will have to pay towards their council tax bill, as the council attempt to meet a funding gap of £1.8 million caused by a cut in its government funding.