Changes to council tax benefit
By Trucks79 | Saturday, July 14, 2012, 08:46
In response to government plans to abolish council tax benefit, we are looking to introduce a new scheme which will support hard-working families and pensioners and bring empty homes back into use while keeping the overall level of council tax as low as possible.
Councils across the country must develop their own local council tax support schemes to replace the abolished council tax benefit. The government currently cover the cost of council tax benefit awards but when the new local council tax support scheme is introduced the grant will be reduced by at least 10per cent. This means that there will be a grant shortfall estimated at £1.4 million to be able to continue to support residents at the same level.
Dave Perry, director of corporate resources, said: "We have to develop a new, cost effective council tax benefit scheme which supports our residents and gives protection to our elderly and vulnerable. It is really important, therefore, that residents have their say by taking part in the consultation."
We are currently consulting on a scheme which is broadly similar to the current council tax benefit scheme, which maintains the premiums and personal allowances for 2012/13, with the exception of removing the second adult rebate. Second adult rebate can be claimed by people whose own income is too high to receive council tax benefit but have other adult(s) in the household whose income is low.
There will be no change to the amount of help pensioners currently receive. People who have reached the age for state pension credit will be assessed under a national scheme which will be decided by the government. The national scheme is likely to be very similar to the current one.
However, this proposal will not cover the shortfall in cost and will require the council to find savings elsewhere. Rather than reduce other services to meet this shortfall, we are proposing to review some of the council tax discretionary discounts that are going to be introduced from 1 April 2013 and apply an additional levy on properties that have been left empty for two years or more.
We want to ensure that all residents (including organisations and voluntary groups) have an opportunity to have their say about council's proposed replacement for council tax benefit. Consultation ends Friday 7 October.
For further information about the council's proposals and to have your say, you can:
Visit our website: www.southglos.gov.uk/counciltaxbenefitchanges where you can download information and complete an online survey
Pick up a copy of the consultation document and survey from one of our one stop shops or local library
Call: 01454 868002