Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2017/2018

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At a meeting of the full Council on Tuesday, 1 November, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council agreed to make changes to its Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) with effect from 1 April 2017.

The decision is the result of a review of the way the Council helps working age households who need help to pay their Council Tax through its Council Tax Reduction Scheme and follows a 12-week public consultation, which invited residents and stakeholders to give their views on 14 possible options for change.

Having considered feedback from the consultation, councillors agreed to streamline the CTRS by implementing nine of the 14 options including: the reduction of the maximum level of council tax support from 81.5% to 80%; the removal of the Family Premium for all new working age claims; and the reduction of the period a claim can be backdated to one month. Many of these changes will align the scheme more closely with housing benefit rules.

Councillors also agreed to introduce a targeted protection scheme based on exceptional hardship to mitigate the equality impacts of the changes and help claimants facing exceptional hardship.

Results following consultation and consideration by Full Council - List of Options that have been agreed or discounted

There were 14 proposed changes being considered for the Council's Council Tax Reduction Scheme from 1 April 2017. Nine options were agreed by the Council on 1 November. Options agreed and discounted are listed below:

Option 1 - Agreed

Reduce the maximum level of support for working age from 81.5% to 75% or 80%. Option to reduce support to 80% agreed

Option 2 - Agreed

Removal of Family Premium for new working age claims (this will bring the Council Tax Reduction Scheme in line with the changes in Housing Benefit announced by the Government). The removal of the family premium from 1 April 2017 is for new claims only and will not affect current claimants. Option agreed to align with housing benefit rules

Option 3 - Agreed

Reducing backdating to one month (this will bring the Council Tax Reduction Scheme in line with the changes in Housing Benefit announced by the Government). Option agreed to align with housing benefit rules

Option 4 - Discounted

Using a minimum level of income for self-employed earners after one year's self-employment (this will bring Council Tax Reduction in line with Universal Credit). Option discounted at this stage

Option 5 - Agreed

Reducing the period for which a person can be absent from Great Britain and still receive Council Tax Reduction to 4 weeks (this will bring the Council Tax Reduction Scheme in line with the changes in Housing Benefit announced by Central Government). Option agreed to align with housing benefit rules

Option 6 - Discounted

Reduce the capital/savings limit from £16,000 to £6,000 – Anyone with savings over £6,000 will not be entitled to LCTR. Option discounted at this stage

Option 7 - Agreed

To introduce a standard level of non-dependant deduction for all claimants who have non dependants living with them (generally an adult son or daughter). Option agreed however no deduction will apply for exceptions in line with housing benefit rules

Option 8 - Discounted

To take any Child Maintenance paid to a claimant or partner into account in full in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction. Option discounted at this stage

Option 9 - Discounted

To take any Child Benefit paid to a claimant or partner into account in full in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction. Option discounted at this stage

Option 10 - Discounted

To restrict the maximum level of Council Tax Reduction payable to the equivalent of a Band D charge. Option discounted at this stage

Option 11 - Agreed

Removal of Second Adult Reduction from the scheme. Option agreed

Option 12 - Agreed

To remove the award of a Work Related Activity Component for all claimants who claim Employment and Support Allowance on or after 1st April 2017 (this will bring the Council Tax Reduction Scheme in line with the changes in Housing Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance announced by Central Government). Option agreed to align with housing benefit rules

Option 13 - Agreed

To limit the number of dependants within the calculation for Council Tax Reduction to a maximum of two. This will take effect from 1st April 2017 and only affect claimants who have a third or subsequent child on or after that date (this will bring the Council Tax Reduction Scheme in line with the changes in Housing Benefit, Tax Credits and Universal Credit announced by Central Government). Option agreed to align with housing benefit rules

Option 14 - Agreed

To introduce a scheme, in addition to Council Tax Reduction, to help applicants suffering exceptional hardship. Option agreed