What is this consultation about?
Each year the Council has to decide whether to change the Council Tax Reduction scheme for working age applicants in its area. This year the Council has decided that improvements should be made to the Council Tax Reduction scheme due to the introduction of Universal Credit within Devon.
The traditional link between Housing Benefit (which will no longer be available to the majority of new working age claimants) and Council Tax Reduction will no longer exist. It is essential that the scheme is simplified to meet future requirements, to reduce administration costs and to ultimately prevent any additional costs being passed on to residents through Council Tax rises.
We have 12 proposals for you to consider and comment on. These proposals will apply to working age people only. A separate Central Government scheme exists for people of pension age and councils are able to vary their schemes only for people of working age.
What is Council Tax Reduction?
Council Tax Reduction is a discount for Council Tax. It supports people on low incomes by reducing the amount of Council Tax they have to pay. The amount of discount awarded is based on a lengthy means test which takes income, capital and household characteristics into account. People in receipt of certain types of benefit including income based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, and Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, automatically qualify for the maximum discount.
Why is a change to the Council Tax Reduction scheme being considered?
In April 2013 the national Council Tax Benefit Scheme was replaced by a new Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Unlike the national scheme, the Council Tax Reduction scheme is determined locally by councils.
Although the Government initially provided funding for the scheme, the funding has reduced each year in line with the reduction in Revenue Support Grant provided to councils. From 2020 no funding will be provided for the scheme.
Each council is required to review its scheme annually and decide if it wants to make any changes. Before any changes can be made, they must be subject to public consultation.
The Council is proposing to improve its existing scheme and, in line with legislation, we have a duty to consult and provide you with the opportunity to tell us your views on the proposed improvements to our Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
We would like to know what you think about these proposed changes, as you could be directly affected by them. To see what changes we are proposing, and to have your say, please complete the online questionnaire
If you would prefer a paper copy of the questionnaire, or would like assistance with completing it, please let us know by emailing email@example.com or call 01626 361101