Views invited on changes to Council Tax Benefit
Published Wednesday 8th August 2012
North Warwickshire residents will have the chance to comment on proposed changes to the existing Council Tax Benefit scheme during a 9 week consultation period, running from 20th Aug to 21st Sept.From April 2013 the Government has decided to scrap the existing Council Tax Benefit system for all people of working age and is calling on all councils to devise their own local schemes. However, the money they will make available to do this will be drastically reduced, meaning a cut in funding of around £13.5% in North Warwickshire .
Under the Governments scheme, pensioner households across the borough will be protected and will receive the same amount of benefit under the new scheme. This has left councillors and officers to work out proposals which will achieve the £650,000 savings required whilst at the same time attempting to protect the most vulnerable residents and encouraging people to find work. With nearly 62% of existing claims paid to pensioners, what this will mean is that the Council will need all working age claimants to pay extra towards their Council Tax bill, even those currently receiving full benefits who have not been required to pay anything in the past.
Councillor Mick Stanley, Leader of North Warwickshire Borough Council said:
" We have attempted to spread the burden of this cut by making some of the savings elsewhere. Regrettably, we have been left with no alternative but to decide that all low income working age claimants currently on Council Tax Benefit must pay more towards the services they receive. We wish we did not have to do this but faced with these challenging financial times for the Council, we have very few options. "
Letters and questionnaires will be going out to all existing Council Tax Benefit claimants impacted by these changes but all North Warwickshire residents are able to comment on the proposed scheme by completing an online questionnaire at www.northwarks.gov.uk/cts . For those without internet access at home, computers are available to use at the Borough Council's One Stop Shop in Atherstone, local libraries and at a number of new B.O.B. Hubs being opened in communities within the borough. There will also be an opportunity to hear about the new Council Tax Support Scheme and feedback any comments at the next round of Area Forum meetings in September.
A full explanation of the details of the proposed scheme and the options being considered is available at www.northwarks.gov.uk/cts or on request from the One Stop Shop at the Council Offices in Atherstone either in person or on telephone 01827 715341. The consultation opens on 20th August and closes on 21st October 2012.
The results will be reported to Council members on 26th November and a final decision adopted by Full Council on 12th December. The new Council Tax Support Scheme must be in place by January 2013 and will be implemented in April 2013.
More articles in the news archive.