Have your say on proposals for new council tax reduction scheme
The current national council tax benefit scheme will end in April 2013. Please give us your views on what you think Waverley's council tax reduction scheme should include.
Published Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Waverley Borough Council has to introduce a local council tax reduction scheme to replace the current national council tax benefit scheme. We would like you to help us shape the new local scheme and we are asking for your views on what Waverley's scheme should include.
Closing date for consultation
The consultation closed on 6 November 2012.
Key principles of proposed council tax reduction scheme
Our draft scheme for consultation purposes will be based on the following key principles. To:
- meet the needs of the local community
- protect the most vulnerable and low income households in the Borough
- incentivise people back to work
- be easy to understand and cost effective to administer
- be seen as fair
- align with future Government funding levels
Challenges for the new local schemes
The Government has announced that council tax benefit is to be abolished from April 2013. It will be replaced by a local scheme providing support for council tax for residents on low income. Funding for the new local scheme will be provided to councils by the Government but it will only be 90% of the current amount spent on council tax benefit.
This means that Councils will need to decide on how to find savings for the remaining 10%, which for Waverley will be around £610,000. These savings will need to come from any of the following:
- reduced council tax support for some existing benefit claimants
- reduced council tax exemptions and discounts for empty and second homes
- other savings in the Council's budgets
- increase in council tax level
- take further steps to reduce fraud - making sure only those who are entitled get support under the scheme
- a combination of the above
Reductions in support will not be made for people who are of pension age. Waverley is committed to ensuring that those people who are most vulnerable receive a degree of protection from reduced support within its local scheme.
About the questionnaire
No decisions have been made by the Council yet and we want your views on the options and proposals set out in the consultation documents.
We recognise that this is a complex matter and some of the questions are fairly technical. In the light of this, we have split the consultation questionnaire into two parts.
Part 1 seeks your views on the main issues around setting a scheme and closing the funding gap and Part 2 asks for your views about the detailed issues and options that need to be considered. We hope that you are able to complete both parts but if you are only able to complete Part 1, your views are still very important to us.
We have to, by law, approve a local scheme by January 2013. We have allowed 8 weeks for this consultation to ensure that we get a good response from as many people as possible.
We also need enough time to properly assess the feedback in time for the decision-making Council meeting in December. We welcome comments from all residents regardless of whether you receive council tax benefit.
The views of local organisations and charities that have an interest in the outcome of the decision about Waverley's Scheme are also welcomed.
Waverley must set a scheme that is fair but the Council must also address this funding gap
The Council must decide on how to meet this funding gap and has considered options including reducing the support paid to some existing council tax benefit claimants. This consultation covers all options and the Council will consider your views when making the final decision about the 2013/14 scheme in December 2012.
Waverley has had to prepare a draft scheme for consultation purposes.
We recognise how difficult it is for households who receive benefits. The proposals set out in the consultation questionnaire, are based upon the existing council tax benefit rules but with some specific amendments.
If implemented, the proposals will achieve some of the savings needed by reducing the support to some working age people.
The proposed draft scheme for consultation does not currently include an across the board percentage reduction to all working age claimants but this option is potentially open to the Council and we would welcome your views on it.
- Supporting information and explanation
- Government's Statement of intent Document
- Waverley's Draft Scheme proposal for consultation
- Questionnaire to download and print
In the mean time if you have any questions or queries about the council tax reduction scheme please contact:
Head of Finance