Changes are being made to the Council Tax Support scheme and Plymouth City Council wants to hear your views.
Every year the Council reviews how much reduction in Council Tax is given to people of working age on a low income and this is published in the Council Tax Support Scheme.
The changes need to be in place by 1 April 2017 so a 12 week consultation has now started and local people’s views will be taken into account when deciding whether changes should be made.
Plymouth’s scheme is based on the previous national Council Tax Benefit scheme, but with 4 main changes:
- The maximum reduction of Council Tax is up to 80%
- Limited to Council Tax Band E
- Capital limit of £6,000
- Exceptional Hardship Fund (providing additional financial support for vulnerable people)
Councillor Ian Darcy, Cabinet Member for Finance for Plymouth City Council, said: “The proposed changes are to bring Plymouth’s scheme in line with central Government policy on Housing Benefit and Universal Credit. The aim is to encourage and incentivise work and reduce the level of welfare benefits available to some.
“Another objective is to make it easier for customers to understand the scheme, and the criteria will be similar to that used in Housing Benefit and Universal Credit applications. This will make it more simple, efficient and less costly.
“If we continue with the current scheme as it is, this will be more expensive, which potentially means less money would be available for other vital council services. It is not aligned to the national changes so would also add to confusion around benefits.”
The proposed changes will affect working age households in Plymouth who receive or apply for Council Tax Support on or after 1 April 2017. Each of the proposed changes may affect working age households claiming under the scheme in different ways. Households of state pension credit age have their scheme administered by central Government so are not directly affected by these proposals.
The consultation ends on 29 September 2016 and you can complete an online questionnaire here: http://plymouth.consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/transformation/2016_ctx_ss
Alternatively, you can also email your views and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
A final decision will be made by the Council on the scheme no later than 31 January 2017.