Council Tax Reduction (CTR) is a local scheme for working-age residents of Bassetlaw. There is also a Government prescribed Scheme for people of Pension Age, which is not included in this consultation. Local Authorities must set their scheme each year and ensure that the poorest households receive help with their council tax. The scheme has remained unchanged since April 2018.
The funding available from central government is subject to cuts year on year. However, the Government “prescribed” Pensioner CTR Scheme still has to be funded, which costs around £4m per year, supporting 3,600 pensioners, on low income. This leaves the Council with some difficult decisions about where to target the remaining limited funds that we have for this support.
Maximum Council Tax Reduction/minimum payment
The most common change that local authorities have made from the former Council Tax Benefit system has been to introduce a “minimum payment” which requires everyone to pay at least some council tax regardless of income. Following previous consultation, Bassetlaw set the maximum rate of Council Tax Reduction at 88% (95% for those with a severe disability). This means that those on maximum support pay 12% of the Council Tax bill (5% for severely disabled).
From April 2017, consultation responses supported a limit to the amount of CTR for people living in higher banded properties. Therefore, a cap limiting the level of CTR to that of a band C property was introduced. This meant that anyone claiming CTR who lived in a bigger property would have to pay the difference themselves. There are no plans to change this approach and any new scheme will limit help in the same way.
Why are we consulting?
The Council is now preparing a review of its scheme in preparation for the new billing year 2020/21. During this period, the Council must also prepare for the Government’s full rollout of Universal Credit (UC) and the impact this may have on families. We are seeking your views on further changes to the scheme from April 2020 and beyond.
This consultation is open for a period of 8 weeks from 25th September 2019 to 19th November 2019. This is a short questionnaire and we value your opinions before making any fundamental changes to this valuable support.