The Council Tax Reduction Scheme, which provides financial help to those on low incomes when paying their council tax, was introduced by local councils four years ago to replace Council Tax Benefit, which was abolished by the Government as part of the Welfare Reform Act.
Daventry District Council runs its own version of the scheme and is consulting on a series of options for 2018/19. Currently, people of working age in the district who qualify for CTRS – approximately 2,350 – are required to make a minimum contribution of 20% towards the Council Tax that they are liable to pay.
The Council is consulting on three future options:
- Keep the scheme unchanged with a minimum Council Tax contribution level of 20% for working age claimants
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- Increase the current Council Tax contribution level for working age claimants to a minimum of 25%, or
- Increase the current Council Tax contribution level for working age claimants to a minimum of 30%.
The proposed options do not affect pensioners, whose scheme is set by the Government.
Raising the contribution level to 25% would help to reduce a funding shortfall in the scheme, while increasing the level to 30% would cover the full cost of the scheme.
However similar increases made by other councils show that collection rates could be affected if the level is raised. DDC’s preferred option is to keep the level unchanged at 20%.
During October, the council is sending questionnaires to all working age claimants in the district 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 November 5 and people can also have their say by going online at www.daventrydc.gov.uk/consultation.
Daventry District Council’s resources portfolio holder Councillor John Shephard said: “It’s really important that we review the scheme every year to ensure it remains financially sustainable and can continue to help residents on low incomes.
“Our preferred option is to keep the scheme unchanged for 2018/19, as it’s too early to evaluate the outcomes of the changes we made last year when we brought it in line with national welfare benefit reforms.
“I would encourage people to give their views by responding to the questionnaires being sent out or completing the survey on our website.”