Council tax reduction – consultation for 2015/16

Press Release: 01/10/2014

From 1 April 2013 the Government abolished Council Tax Benefit. All councils across the country had to develop their own schemes, called Council Tax Reduction Schemes, to replace it. The Council had to consider various options for the new schemes as the Government has reduced the funding to support the scheme.

For 2013-14 Winchester City Council agreed to:

  • Safeguard vulnerable customers by ensuring that the new Council Tax Reduction Scheme provided the same level of assistance as the previous Council Tax Benefit Scheme
  • Make work pay by increasing the amount of income that working age customers can earn before it affects their level of Council Tax Reduction
     

For 2014-15 the Council agreed to:

  • Provide the same level of assistance as the previously agreed Council Tax Reduction Scheme
  • Continue to make work pay by further increasing the amount of income that working age customers can earn before it affects their level of Council Tax Reduction from £10 per week to £20 per week for single claimants and from £25 per week to £50 per week for all other claimants

The Council is now considering the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for next year – 2015-16. It is still committed to safeguarding its vulnerable residents who need assistance with paying their Council Tax and it also wants to ensure that those in work are better off.

The following changes are being considered for 2015-16:

  • Provide the same level of assistance as the previously agreed Council Tax Reduction Scheme (with some increases in the components of the calculation to allow for rises in the cost of living – increases in line with the Government’s annual increases to other welfare benefits), and:
  • Keep the amount of income that working age customers can earn before it affects their Council Tax Reduction at the levels agreed for 2014/15, or:
  • Further increase the amount of income that working age customers can earn before it affects their level of Council Tax Reduction from £20 per week to £30 per week for single claimants and from £50 per week to £60 per week for all other claimants
     

Cllr Stephen Godfrey, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Organisational Development, said:

The Council is still committed to making work pay and with assisting our customers to move into work or to take on more hours. We have continued to see an increase in the number of working age customers who are in work and we hope that the changes being considered will give even more of our customers the confidence to take on work or extra hours.

It is important that we seek your views on these options to ensure that any changes we make are reasonable.

Winchester City Council would like to hear your views on these options. These options are out for consultation until 19 October 2014.

Please let us have your views by:

Email – benefits@winchester.gov.uk

Write – Jane Petty, Deputy Head of Revenues, Winchester City Council, City Offices, Colebrook Street, Winchester, Hants, SO23 9LJ

If you would like to view the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2014/15 please follow the link http://www.winchester.gov.uk/council-tax/changes-council-tax-benefit/

If you would like to view the current Council Tax discounts and exemptions please follow the link http://www.winchester.gov.uk/council-tax/.