Council tax reduction – consultation for 2016/17

Press Release: 30/06/2015

Local people are being asked for their views on Winchester City Council’s proposals for its council tax reduction scheme covering 2016-17.

While many councils are cutting support to residents, Winchester aims to maintain levels of support including increases to cover any rise in the cost of living.

The Council’s proposals are open for consultation from Wednesday 1 July 2015 to Wednesday 30 September 2015.

From 1 April 2013 the Government abolished council tax benefit. To replace this, all councils across the country had to develop their own schemes called council tax reduction schemes. The City Council had to consider various options for the new scheme as the Government has reduced the funding.

The council tax reduction scheme which was introduced by Winchester City Council from 1 April 2013 was designed to:

  • Safeguard vulnerable customers by providing 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

When the scheme was reviewed for 2014/15 and 2015/16 the Council agreed to:

  • Provide the same level of assistance as the originally 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

The Council is now considering the scheme for next year – 2016/17. 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.

Changes being considered for 2016/17 aim to:

  •  Provide the same level of assistance as the previously agreed scheme (with some increases in the components of the calculation to allow for rises in the cost of living*), and
  • Keep the amount of income that working age customers can earn before it affects their council tax reduction at the levels agreed for 2015/16, or

Further increase the amount of income that working age customers can earn before it affects their level of council tax reduction from £30 per week to £35 per week for single claimants and from £60 per week to £70 per week for all other claimants

*these increases will be in line with the Government’s annual increases to other welfare benefits

Cllr Stephen Godfrey, the Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Corporate Policy, said:

The Council is still committed to making work pay and assisting 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 the views of local people on these options to ensure that any changes we make are reasonable.

The options are out for consultation from 1 July 2015 to 30 September 2015.

Email: benefits@winchester.gov.uk

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

To view the scheme for 2015/16 and previous years please follow the link: http://www.winchester.gov.uk/council-tax/changes-council-tax-benefit