Changes to Council Tax Benefit

Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme

The Government abolished the national Council Tax Benefit scheme from 31 March 2013 and it will be replaced with a local Council Tax Reduction Scheme from 1 April 2013.

As well as passing responsibility for this scheme to councils, Government is also cutting the amount of funding it gives them by 10%. This shortage in funding means we have to make some difficult decisions about who gets financial support, and how much they receive.

The Government has set protections for Pensioners and they are NOT affected by this change. There is a new national Council Tax Reduction Scheme for pensioners. The level of support they receive under Council Tax Reduction will be in line with the previous current Council Tax Benefit rules.

The Council undertook an eight week public consultation process, including drop in sessions across the district last summer and has taken our residents views into account when designing the scheme. A special group of Councillors also did a lot of research which was used to help shape the scheme. The scheme is set around some key principals.

The Council set the new Council Tax Reduction scheme at a Full Council meeting on 17 January 2013. There are some key differences between this scheme and the proposals we consulted on in our draft scheme.

As part of the scheme the Council will be introducing a Discretionary Hardship Fund for those working age people with exceptional circumstances who suffer financial hardship as a result of these changes.

Council Tax Benefit

If you were already in receipt of Council Tax Benefit, we would have automatically transferred you to Council Tax Reduction from 1 April 2013. You did not need to make a new claim. We sent you a letter during March 2013 to let you know if you qualify for a new Reduction and if so, how much.

If you think you may have problems paying your Council Tax there are a number of ways we can help you.