Wiltshire Council Tax reduction scheme under review

Wiltshire Council Tax reduction scheme under review

Published by Henrietta Creasey at 11:12am 11th September 2019. (Updated at 11:32am 11th September 2019)

The local authority is looking at changing the scheme which helps people to pay their council tax.

Wiltshire Council is looking at a number of options to help provide a 'simplified scheme' specificially for those in receipt of Universal Credit.

The current Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme is a means tested benefit for working-aged people, which currently supports 14,400 working-age households.

A separate national scheme operated by the council supports a further 10,600 pensioner households through a reduction in their council tax.

The changes are being proposed because of the introduction of Full Service Universal Credit to Wiltshire. 

An award of Universal Credit often changes every month. Under the current scheme, whenever someone's Universal Credit award changes by an amount that affects their CTR by more than £1, their CTR award will also be reassessed.

CHANGES:

Council bosses are proposing that the amount of CTR that a working age household in receipt of Universal Credit receives will no longer be subject to a complex, means test calculation.

Instead, the local authority will look at the total net income the household possesses and place the household into an income band. The band will determine the amount of CTR to be deducted from the bill. 

Council Tax Reduction 2JPG

Any changes will only affect working age households on Universal Credit, as those of state pension credit age have their scheme set by government.

SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CHANGES FOR CONSIDERATION:

  • To introduce six income bands for households which determine the percentage reduction in council tax per year.
  • To disregard the first £50 of any income earned by the household each week
  • To disregard an element of carers allowance
  • Maintain the working age protected category. 
  • To continue the current scheme for those in receipt of War Widows or War Disablement Pensions, as well as those in receipt of certain disability benefits such as Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
calculator Pixabay
Wiltshire Council wants to create a more 'simplified' Council Tax Reduction system for those who get Universal Credit. 

HAVE YOUR SAY:

Philip Whitehead, Wiltshire Council leader and Cabinet Member for Finance said: 

"We are asking people to give us their views to help us shape a system that continues to provide fair support. We want to reduce the risk of having to frequently adjust entitlement to a household's Council Tax Reduction as a result of minor changes in income, an issue which is commonly faced by those on Universal Credit.

"We hope to reduce uncertainty for those on this scheme and in doing so minimise the cost of administration. Once we have received public feedback, we can then make a decision on how we deliver the scheme next year."

The consultation is open until 11 November 2019 and you can comment on the council's website: consult.wiltshire.gov.uk

Any changes will be implemented in April 2020.

 

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