The following has come through from South Hams DC regarding changes to support for Council Tax. Do you get a discount on your Council Tax? If so, I advise you read this and submit your comments. They say there will be winners and losers, but I would imagine there’ll be more of the latter.
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Have your say on possible changes to our
Council Tax discount scheme
Every year local councils have to take a look at their existing Council Tax Reduction scheme and make a decision whether to replace or revise it. Council Tax Reduction Schemes enables residents to apply for a discount on their Council Tax.
This year South Hams District Council is proposing a number of changes and have put together a list of options which they would like customers to comment on.
Cllr Hilary Bastone South Hams Executive Member for Customer First said: “This year we are proposing a number of changes. This is because we have now brought in Universal Credit across the whole District and our Council Tax Reduction scheme needs to change to reflect how Universal Credit works. We also want to make it easier and clearer for customers to understand the process and keep on top of any changes in their own circumstances.”
One of the proposed changes is the introduction of a simple grid with benefit bands, which will replace the current complex benefit assessment, making it easier for customers to see and manage their discount.
This proposed change and 10 others, including limiting the number of dependent children considered on a claim, and disregarding carer’s allowance which is currently taken into account when the discount is calculated, can be viewed on the Council’s engagement portal. All customers are encouraged to read the information and fill in a short survey with their thoughts.
Cllr Bastone continued: “When you make changes to any benefit scheme, there will inevitably be some people who gain more and others who get a little less. We are keen that these changes should reflect the changes across our whole benefit system and bring this scheme inline, to make it clearer easier and fairer for everyone. On the survey, and the engagement portal, we have clearly explained the benefits and drawback of all the proposals to make it easier for people to add their comments and reach an informed opinion.”
Notes to Editors
In April 2013, the Council Tax Benefit Scheme was replaced by a new Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Council Tax Benefit had been funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and supported people on low incomes by reducing the amount of Council Tax they must pay.
The Council Tax Reduction scheme is determined locally by District Councils rather than the Department of Work and Pensions. Although the Government initially provided funding for the scheme, the funding has reduced each year in line with the reduction in Revenue Support Grant provided to councils. From 2019 no funding will be provided for the scheme.
People can claim Council Tax Reduction if they are on certain benefits. The current scheme requires all working age applicants to pay a minimum of 20% of their Council Tax (a maximum level of support of 80%). Applicants in receipt of income based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support and Income Rated Employment and Support Allowance receive the maximum level of support. Others receive a level of Council Tax Reduction based on their income and other factors.
A separate Central Government scheme is retained for people of pension age and Councils are only able to vary their schemes for people of working age.