The Government decided to abolish the national council tax benefit scheme, from 1 April 2013, and to make councils responsible for providing local replacement schemes. At the same time, the Government told councils that its funding for replacement schemes would be cut by 10%. Therefore councils had to decide how to continue helping people with their council tax bills but with less funding from the Government.
Having considered all the options, this Council decided to run an extensive consultation exercise to find out what our residents thought was the best option for dealing with the cut in funding. The result was that, overall, our residents considered that:
- our replacement scheme should continue to calculate someone's help with their council tax bill in the same way as under the council tax benefit scheme; and
- having calculated the person's help, the amount of help would then be reduced by 18.5% (only applies to those of working-age. The help available to pensioners is protected ).
In view of the outcome to the consultation, the Council adopted a local Council Tax Reduction Scheme that reduced entitlement to help by 18.5%
For the year 2013/14, we were able to soften the reduction to 8.5% because the Government provided some extra funding. Therefore, for every pound of help you get at the moment, you see a reduction of eight and a half pence.
For the year 2014/15, we understand that the Government will not be providing any extra funding. Therefore the Council has reluctantly agreed that its original decision to make an 18.5% reduction from entitlement will take effect. The Council took into account that it had previously consulted on a reduction of 18.5% and that the overall majority of consultees had agreed with a reduction of that amount.
View our council tax reduction scheme.
However, the Council is planning to increase the allowances and non-dependant deductions that are used in the calculation of the amount of help. This will benefit the majority of people claiming and will bring our local scheme into line with how the former council tax benefit scheme worked. Therefore, subject to comments, the Council intends to amend our scheme by the insertion of the following paragraph:
"The Director of Finance and Transformation shall increase, annually, the allowances and non-dependant deductions contained within this scheme, as they apply to working-age claimants, by reference to the increase, by the Government, of allowances and non-dependant deductions used within the calculation of state benefits and the calculation of reductions applicable to pension-age claimants under this scheme."