Eligible low income Isle of Wight residents could still be given support to pay their council tax bills.

The local council tax support scheme has been running for more than ten years and provides a 70 per cent discount on their council tax bill, meaning residents pay the remaining 30 per cent.

The Isle of Wight Council has said this year has been the first where those receiving support have dropped below 10,000 people.

The level of support dipped in recent years but was restored to 70 per cent under the Alliance Administration in May, to provide more support to residents which are experiencing financial difficulty amid the cost of living crisis.

The council's cabinet last week unanimously agreed to recommend keeping the level of support at the same, ahead of a budget-setting process which was described as 'daunting and difficult' as the authority looks to balance its books.

The council says financial backing to the scheme comes from the government but has reduced year on year, leaving the Island authority with a bigger bill to foot.

If the council decided to increase or decrease the support given by five per cent it would either cost or make the council an additional £366,649.

The debt relating to the local council tax support schemes is now more than £2.5 million, as those on the scheme struggle to pay the reduced levels.

The council says it is collecting some of the debt owed to it and will continue that work.

A consultation was held earlier this year to gather feedback on the scheme and of the 201 responses, 152 people disagreed with reducing the support to 65 per cent.

The majority of respondents to the survey were those on the scheme and more than two-thirds said if the support was increased to a 75 per cent discount it would make their payments more affordable.

The final decision to increase or decrease support will be made at the Isle of Wight Council's full meeting in January, ahead of the main budget-setting session.

An exceptional hardship fund also exists within the council which offers further help.