New scheme agreed to support households on low incomes
Households on low incomes will continue to receive support to pay their council tax after councillors agreed a new scheme for 2018 – 2019.
Four years ago, new rules were introduced by the Government which abolished the Council Tax Benefit Scheme that had helped people on low incomes.
Councils were then allowed to develop their own schemes to help working aged people pay their council tax, while pensioners were fully protected from reductions. The scheme introduced by Chichester District Council was largely based on the old government scheme.
In the summer, a review of the district’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme took place and a public was consultation held.
As a result, for the first time the council is introducing a banded scheme for working age customers who receive Universal Credit. The council is also adapting its Discretionary Policy. This will allow an additional amount of Council Tax Reduction to be made where a claimant suffers financial hardship as a result of the banded scheme.
“If the previous scheme had been left unchanged, then the amount of Council Tax Reduction awarded could have changed from month to month,” says Councillor Philippa Hardwick, Cabinet Member for Finance and Governance at Chichester District Council. “A banded scheme will make it easier for households to understand and budget. This scheme will also be easier and more cost effective to administer.
“As a council we want to continue to support people on low incomes and we are very proud of the fact that this has always been a priority for us. The introduction of Universal Credit is a big change and so we want to ensure that we make things as easy as we can for people, so that they know what they will be paying each month. Changing our Discretionary Policy will also allow us to be flexible to each person’s circumstances.”