Council to consult on new Council Tax scheme

Changes to Calderdale’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme, the support scheme which helps working age people on lower incomes to pay their Council Tax, will be discussed by Calderdale Council’s Cabinet on 8 July 2013.

In April 2013, the Government ended Council Tax Benefit and passed responsibility for providing support with Council Tax to local authorities. The Government also reduced the level of funding for this by about 10 per cent.

Calderdale Council’s current Council Tax Reduction Scheme provides the same level of support as the old Council Tax Benefit scheme. On Monday night the Cabinet will be asked to recommend that there is a public consultation on proposals for a new Council Tax Reduction scheme which will be introduced in April 2014.

Under the proposals people of working age who currently receive the full level of Council Tax Support would be asked to pay some money towards their bill. Those who receive some support to pay their bill would be asked to make a larger contribution. This would allow the Council to provide support for those in greatest need but still remain within its budget. Calderdale Council would need to find an additional £1.9 million through other savings to continue the current scheme.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Councillor Steve Sweeney, said:

“Difficult decisions will need to be made about who will receive financial support from 1 April 2014 and how much help they will receive. This year we were right not to change the amount of help we gave to people. It protected those on the lowest incomes for a year and allowed them time to adjust to all the benefit changes which were being introduced. It also gave us the opportunity to learn from the experience of other local authorities which have already introduced similar schemes.”

“We will be asking people to take part in our consultation so that we can listen to their views. We want to make sure that the new scheme supports those who need it most, that it is cost effective and simple to understand and administer.”

The results of the consultation will be reported to Cabinet in the autumn and will be used to help shape the new scheme and identify any groups which should be protected from the changes. The final decision will be taken by the Council in November.

Pensioners will be unaffected by these changes and will continue to receive the same level of support as this year.

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