Please note this consultation has now closed.
Babergh District Council has launched a consultation on changes to their Council Tax Reduction Scheme, which could see some working age people on low incomes pay just 5% of their bill.
The proposed changes include an increase in the maximum discount to 95%, which could see some residents pay just 5% of their Council Tax bill. The changes also aim to make provision for the introduction of Universal Credit and align the current scheme with the Housing Benefit scheme Babergh operate.
The consultation runs from Tuesday 31 October to 27th November.
The current Council Tax Reduction Scheme – which replaced Council Tax Benefit in 2013 – includes a maximum discount of 91.5% for the least well off residents, requiring just 8.5% of the bill to be paid.
Over the last 4 years there have been a number of changes to Housing Benefit legislation, resulting in some residents seeing their circumstances being treated differently in application for support with Council Tax compared to Housing Benefit. The upcoming introduction of Universal Credit will also significantly change how residents receive financial support.
In light of this Babergh has unveiled proposals to change their Council Tax Reduction Scheme to reduce the burden of administration of the separate schemes, treat customers circumstances the same for Housing Benefit and CTR, support customers in receipt of Universal Credit and continue to support those customers most in need.
Following the consultation a report will be produced and submitted to Babergh’s Full Council Meeting in December, proposing the final changes come into effect on 1 April 2018.
Cllr Peter Patrick, Babergh District Council Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “Our Council Tax Reduction Scheme can form a lifeline for residents in difficult circumstances, and we need to make it as simple as possible: by aligning the criteria with our Housing Benefit scheme we will make the scheme easier to understand and quicker to access. This, along with increasing our maximum reduction from 91.5% to 95%, will help our most vulnerable residents when they need it most, all at a cost of just £8,000 a year to Babergh.
“We want to make sure these are the right changes to help people, so I’d ask everyone to please take a look at these proposals and participate in our consultation, letting us know what you think.”