People living in Daventry district are being encouraged to give their views on future proposals for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS).
The scheme, which provides financial help to people on low incomes when paying their council tax, was introduced by local councils in April 2013 to replace council tax benefit, which was abolished by the Government as part of the Welfare Reform Act.
Daventry District Council, like other local authorities, runs its own version of the scheme and is consulting on a series of options for 2017/18.
Currently people of working age in Daventry district who qualify for CTRS – approximately 1,920 – are required to make a minimum contribution of 20 per cent towards the council tax that they are liable to pay.
There are several possible changes that could be made to the scheme from April 2017 including introducing a number of national welfare benefit reforms.
The options for consideration include the following:
- Either keeping the minimum council tax contribution level for working age claimants at 20 per cent of the bill, or increasing it to 33 per cent.
- Reducing the time that a person can be absent from Great Britain and still receive Council Tax Reduction from 13 weeks to four weeks.
- Removing the Work Related Activity Component when calculating reductions for new Employment Support Allowance claimants.
- Limiting the number of dependant children, when calculating Council Tax Reduction, to a maximum of two for any new child born on or after 1 April 2017.
- Adjusting the level of non-dependant deductions made in line with council tax increases (this is the amount taken off a claim when a person lives with a non-dependent aged 18 or over who is expected to contribute towards paying the council tax).
- Removing the Family Premium when calculating Council Tax Reduction for new claimants from 1 April 2017.
- Reducing the backdating of new claims to one month from 1 April 2017.
No changes are proposed for pensioners, whose scheme is set by the Government.
Daventry District Council’s preferred option – set out as Option 2 in the consultation – is to keep the minimum Council Tax contribution level for working age claimants at 20 per cent and introduce changes that bring the scheme in line with national welfare benefit reforms.
During October, the council is sending questionnaires to all working age claimants in the district, along with private and registered social landlords and welfare agencies, asking them to have their say on the options. They can also suggest their own ideas or alternatives as part of the consultation.
The consultation runs until Thursday November 10 and people can also have their say by going online at www.daventrydc.gov.uk/consultation.
Cllr Chris Millar, leader of Daventry District Council, said: “We are carrying out this yearly review to ensure we can continue to help people on low incomes while keeping the scheme financially affordable for our council, which is facing future cuts in government funding.
“It’s important that people have their say on the options we’ve put forward and I would encourage as many as possible to complete the survey and give their views.”
Residents who receive questionnaires by post should complete and return them by November 10 2016, using the freepost address provided. Responses can also be made online at www.daventrydc.gov.uk/consultation. For queries or more information, please contact the Benefits Team on 01327 302300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.