The Isle of Wight Council is asking people to share their views on the future of the Local Council Tax Support scheme, with a consultation launched.
Since 2013, the way that Council Tax Support (CTS) is applied has been localised; so individual councils can create an approach that works best for their local area, in line with reductions in grant funding from the government; rather than a blanket national approach.
The scheme provides support for people on certain benefits and low incomes.
The consultation considers five possible changes that could be made to the scheme from April 2018, including implementing a national welfare benefit reforms change into the scheme. These could affect just over 6,000 existing working age claimants across the Island.
The changes for consideration are:
- Maximum CTS of either 75 per cent or 70 per cent of council tax liability
- A Band C cap on CTS entitlement
- Minimum CTS level of £2 or £4 per week to qualify
- Non-dependent deduction level increases
- Bereavement benefit changes (national welfare reform change to disregard from housing benefit, but currently not specified for CTS).
More detail and information about how these changes may affect individual working age claimants are shown in a number of case studies on the council’s website, and within the survey: www.iwight.com/lcts
Councillor Stuart Hutchinson, Cabinet member for resources, said:
“We need to consider whether to make any further changes to the Local Council Tax Support scheme next year. We have a range of options available that could be considered, and would like people to share their views on the proposed changes.
“As part of this annual review we have looked carefully at the Local Council Tax Support Scheme and identified a number of potential changes which would generate savings for the council while still providing a fair level of support to those residents who are on a low income.
“It is important that we support those most vulnerable in our society, and that any changes that could be made are as sympathetic to recipients’ circumstances, as possible. None of the options being consulted on make drastic changes to the amount of council tax individuals would pay, and our fully funded scheme to support any who suffer exceptional hardship, will continue.
“I would encourage all residents to visit the consultation pages on the council’s website and have their say on this important issue.”
Following this consultation recommendations will be considered by the Full Council in January 2018, with a view to bringing in changes from April 2018.
Views of all residents are being sought from 9 August 2017 until 3 October 2017 online at www.iwight.com/lcts. Paper copies of the survey are also available by calling (01983) 823653.