A consultation asking South Hams residents for their views on proposed changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme is now open for comments.
South Hams District Council is asking all residents who think they might be effected by the proposed changes to go onto the Council’s website and tell them what they think.
Every year local councils have to take a look at their existing Council Tax Reduction scheme and make a decision whether to replace or revise it. Council Tax Reduction Schemes enables residents to apply for a Council Tax reduction.
This year South Hams District Council has decided that they need to make changes to their Council Tax Reduction Scheme because the government has made changes to Housing Benefit and brought in Universal Credit.
All the Devon authorities are proposing the same changes to their schemes starting in 2017; But before they can make any changes they must consult residents.
Cllr Hilary Bastone South Hams District Council’s Executive Portfolio Holder said: “If you receive benefits or you think you are likely to claim for benefits in the near future, please visit our website and have your say. The changes are being prosed to align our scheme with changes that central government have made, but we really need to hear from you.”
Proposed Changes include:
•To remove the family premium for new claims made after 1st April 2017 or where this premium would apply for the first time to existing claims.
•To remove the element of a work related activity component for new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). This will only apply to new applicants for ESA after 1st April 2017.
•To reduce the period for which a person absent from Great Britain can still receive a Council Tax Reduction from 13 to 4 weeks.
•To limit the number of dependent children that can be added within the calculation for the Council Tax Scheme to a maximum of 2. This will only affect households who have a third or subsequent child born on or after 1st April 2017.
•To remove the additional earnings disregard (amounts that we deduct from claimants earned income prior to assessing their claim) and apply the standard disregards to all applicants that are in work regardless of hours.
•To remove entitlement to the Severe Disability premium where another person is paid UC (Carers Element) to look after them.
•Introduce a Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for the self-employed after a 12 month start-up period. Linked to National Living wage (7.20) or National Minimum wage (6.70 or £5.30 depending on age).
The consultation is aksing people who are of working age and who currently recieve or may apply for council tax reduction to comment of the proposed changes.
The consultation will run from the end of July until 4 September
For more information http://www.southhams.gov.uk/ctrconsultation
Once the outcome of the consultation is known the results will be analysed and the results presented to Councillors, for a final decision on the 2017/18 scheme.