From 1 April 2013 Council Tax Benefit, which helps people on low incomes pay their Council Tax, will be abolished and the Government has asked each Council to replace it with their own local scheme called Council Tax Support. This will be a major change to the way that Council Tax is funded.
Pensioners will be protected and their entitlement will not change.
The Government is reducing the grant it gives to Councils to meet the cost of Council Tax Benefit by at least 10%. For Telford and Wrekin, this is actually a cut in Council funding of £3.1 million in the first year alone. This shortfall could increase in future if the number of people requiring support continues to rise.
This cut is making no allowance for inflation and is assuming the economy is improving and therefore the number of claimants will reduce. However there is no evidence locally to support this. This change in funding will also potentially affect the local Fire and Police Services.
If we continue to pay Council Tax Benefit at the same rate as we do now, the Council would need to find the additional £3.1 million savings from its budget on top of the £13 million it expects to have to save next year. This would mean cuts to other services.
Instead, the Council is proposing to apply the funding cut to awards of Council Tax Support in the way that we consider is the fairest to the widest range of customers. We are keen to give everyone, whether they claim benefit or not, the opportunity to have their say on our proposals before the new scheme is finalised.
Proposed new scheme
The Government has stated that the new local scheme should support more people into work by ensuring that; work always pays, the most vulnerable people are protected and we deliver fairness to those claiming benefit and the taxpayer.
You can read more about the Government’s proposals by visiting the Communities and Local Government website .
Our proposed scheme is broadly based on the current Council Tax Benefit scheme for working age claimants with a number of variations to meet the reduction in funding.
The changes we propose will affect many people in the borough.
- for people of working age, any Council Tax Benefit now received may go down by between 21 and 25%
- if you own a second home or a home that is empty, you may lose the Council Tax discounts you currently receive
- where these changes apply, the liable party will have to pay the difference
- pensioners will be protected and should see no changes to their entitlement
- we propose that the severely disabled are also protected
We would like to encourage residents, community and voluntary groups, current benefit claimants, landlords and other organisations to take part in this important consultation. We need your views on our proposals to help shape these changes that we must make.
Consultation starts on Thursday 30 August 2012 and ends on Friday 26 October 2012 in order to meet the Council’s budget setting timetable and to allow enough time for responses to be considered and evaluated. A decision, taking account of the all of the views submitted during the consultation, will be made later in the year.
How to take part
Before completing the survey, please read the Consultation Document in full.
- Complete our survey online
- Paper copies of the Consultation Document and the Survey are available from FirstPoint Telford at the Council’s Civic Offices and FirstPoint at Wellington Civic & Leisure Centre
- Book a place at our public information event on Wednesday 26 September at Telford & Wrekin Council’s Civic Offices at 6pm, by calling 01952 384957 or emailing email@example.com
- You can write to us at: Delivery & Planning, Telford & Wrekin Council, FREEPOST SY1154, Telford, Shropshire, TF3 4ZZ. No stamp required.
- More information available on Facebook and Twitter