Council Tax Support Consultation 2018

Closed 10 Nov 2017

Opened 11 Sep 2017

Overview

Consultation on our Council Tax support scheme

Our council tax scheme is updated on an annual basis to allow the authority the opportunity to make any changes that we see fit to enable us to reflect changes in national legislation. 

This year, there have not been many changes that the government has made to other benefits, particularly housing benefit so we are not proposing any changes to our scheme. However, because the scheme has to be agreed at full council we would still like to hear your views on this.

The overall policy of the scheme is that people on low income should not lose out on financial help towards their council tax, despite cuts to the government funding available for this. 

Where possible, our Council Tax support scheme mirrors housing benefit rules so it is consistent as far as practical with what Council Tax benefit entitlement would have been if this had not been abolished by the government. However, we have tried to ensure that in all cases where the government has changed the system, that the council tax support is not reduced.

Our consultation ends the 10 November 2017.

Why We Are Consulting

Why is there a new scheme?

In April 2013, the government ended Council Tax benefit and asked local councils to introduce their own scheme for residents who need help paying their council tax.

Since April 2013, after consultation with our residents, we have absorbed the cost of any shortfall in government funding to ensure that no resident of the borough is worse off.

At first, the government gave us the amount we used to spend in Council Tax benefit less 10 per cent. However, more recently the government has reduced funding further, meaning local councils have to pay more towards their Council Tax support schemes.

Each year, when we propose a new scheme – even if there are no changes to previous years, we have to consult with those that could be affected.

Our current scheme finishes on 31 March 2018. This consultation is for our proposals for 2018/19.

Our proposals

We want to continue to ensure that no one is worse off under our Council Tax support scheme than they would have been if Council Tax benefit had not been abolished.

The main change that the government has brought in to other welfare benefits including housing benefit is the restriction to assessment of benefit to two children.

Previously, when claimants had more children, they received more money to reflect the increase in living costs. From April 2017, for other welfare benefits where families have two children or more, any children born after this date are ignored so claimants receive no more money.

At present, for those on Universal Credit (UC), we will continue to reflect the UC applicable amount. This means that this change will not make a difference to the CTS. This is because any loss of additional income is offset against any rise that there would have been in the amount we use to calculate CTS (known as the applicable amount).

For those on housing benefit, we will continue to increase the applicable amount for each extra child. This way we are ensuring that no one is worse off.

We want to continue to run our CTS scheme in this way so we are not proposing making any further changes to how the scheme is currently run. This means we will continue to ensure that all calculations are based on full CTS and we will keep features agreed in previous schemes that help those on low incomes such as keeping the family premium.

Have your say

We would like to know what you think of our proposals. Please complete this short questionnaire.

We will make a final decision, based on the responses to the consultation, before 31 January 2018 and the amendments to the scheme will take effect on 1 April 2018.

A broad outline of our current scheme is available on our website here: A guide to our council tax support scheme (pdf)

You can find the full regulations for our current scheme (previously known as the “default scheme”) on the following link:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/2886/contents/made
 

Who will be affected?

We are not proposing any changes to the way that the scheme is currently run.

The two child limit described above is a central government change.

Anyone on full CTS is not affected because the full CTS will remain

Partial UC recipients are not affected because the loss of additional income is offset against a similar loss of additional applicable amount (The applicable amount is the amount of money the government believes you (and your partner) need to meet your necessary weekly costs and it is this that we base your CTS calculation on).

Those on Housing Benefit (HB) and receive partial CTS would be worse off if we restricted their applicable amount to two children. This is why we do not want to introduce this change for these people.

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Anyone from any background

Interests

  • All interests