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Have your say on proposed changes to Council Tax Support

Residents are being asked for their views on proposed changes to Fenland District Council's Council Tax Support (CTS) scheme, which provides council tax discounts for residents on low incomes.

The council is considering making minor changes to the scheme from next April to bring it in line with changes to benefits as a result of Government welfare reforms, and take into account the rollout of Universal Credit.

It would mean the way the council calculates new CTS claims would take into account welfare reform changes which could affect the level of income some people have.

The scheme would also be updated so residents receiving Universal Credit would not need to make a separate application to qualify for a Council Tax discount, making the process easier and more convenient.

Finally, the council is proposing to update 'applicable amounts', the amount of the money people are considered to need to live on; a figure updated annually by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The changes would only affect working-age claimants. Pensioners would not be affected and there is no proposal to change the 'reduction rate', the amount claimants have to pay, which has remained at 14% of the normal council tax since April 2014.

A consultation on the proposed changes has been launched and runs until November 28. 

In addition, the council is writing to the 4,500 working age customers who currently receive CTS, enclosing a paper survey form.

Feedback from the consultation will be reviewed before final decisions are taken at Cabinet and full council meetings on December 14.

Councillor Chris Seaton, the Cabinet member responsible for finance, said: "This is all about making minor administrative changes to allow us to align our Council Tax Support scheme to new benefit and Universal Credit rules, at the same time as making the scheme easier for people to understand and more efficient to administer.

"I'd encourage people to complete a simple survey to have their say in the consultation which is running until November 28."

Article added: November 7, 2017