Consultation on Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2018-19

Ends: 07 Dec 2017

Council Tax Support is a Council Tax discount. The level of discount awarded is based on the income of the household, known as “means testing”.

Currently the maximum discount is 75.5% of council tax for working age households and up to 100% for pensioners.

Prior to April 2013 there was a national scheme called Council Tax Benefit. Local Councils became responsible for Local Council Tax Support schemes from 1 April 2013.


Who will be affected by the outcome of this consultation?

Working age households in North Somerset who currently receive or may apply for Council Tax Support.

Pensionable age households will NOT be affected as Central Government prescribes a separate Council Tax Support Scheme which is not affected by the council’s changes.

In April 2013, the government changed the way in which assistance is provided to Council Tax payers on low incomes. The Local Council Tax Support Scheme (LCTS) was introduced to replace the previous national council tax benefit system.

North Somerset Council introduced its Local Council Tax Support Scheme in April 2013 and made changes in subsequent years creating the current scheme. It was designed to be affordable in the context of the reduced grant provided by the Government to fund the scheme. In doing this the council delivered a scheme that did not impact on either the level of council tax or other services which it provides.

The current scheme allows  low income families to be eligible to council tax support but requires a minimum contribution of 24.5% of their full council tax bill.

The funding to support the scheme has continually reduced in line with other cuts and is expected to continue to reduce in future years. To date North Somerset Council has continued its scheme with a contribution of 24.5% from all working age recipients of LCTS.

North Somerset Council is looking to make changes to the LCTS effective from April 2018 and wants to hear your views on the proposals.

To help understand what other councils are providing under the scheme please see the attached link to the 2017/18 schemes across the country.

http://www.counciltaxsupport.org/schemes/

What will happen to the results? 

The consultation results will feed into the final report with recommendations to the full Council, scheduled for 9 January 2018. We will seek approval on the preferred Local Council Tax Support Scheme for implementation on 1 April 2018.

Let us know your views using this online questionnaire.

The questionnaire is designed to be accessible to all. If you need it in another format, contact Jo Buchan by email or by phone on 01275 885 116. 

What we plan to do for 2018/19 and why.

Currently around 12,841 households in total receive Local Council Tax Support in North Somerset. (Working age customers 6941 and pensioner caseload of 5900).

North Somerset Council is facing significant financial pressures, with an increase in demand for important services against a reduction in Government funding. The Council therefore has to find ways to reduce services and expenditure. Making the changes to the Local Council Tax Support Scheme will reduce the level of financial support provided to working age recipients of LCTS and streamline the administration of the scheme.

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We want to

  • Increase the minimum contribution
  • Align the backdating timeframe with Housing Benefit and reduce from three months to one month
  • Work more effectively with Universal Credit claimants recognising that there are many changes in circumstances which require notifications and further council tax billing,
  • Make administrative efficiencies where possible in support of the scheme with the introduction of fixed period assessments
  • Make it easier for residents to budget when dealing with frequent changes in peoples circumstances

Either:

Option 1

Should we keep the current Council Tax Support Scheme without change for a further 12 months? The current scheme allows for low income families an eligibility to council tax support but requires a minimum contribution of 24.5% of their full council tax bill.

Or:

Option 2

Increase the minimum contribution to 26.5%, 27.5% or 28.5%. On an average Council Tax liability of £865.00 a year for Band A customers, the current contribution to the LCTS is £211.00.Iincreasing the contribution to 27.5% will mean that eligible households will have to pay an additional £26.87 a year.

Also:

Option 3

To introduce a minor technical change to reduce the backdating period for claims to one month in line with Housing Benefit legislation

And:

Option 4

We could introduce a deminimus value of change on award.  This provides a deminimus approach to changes in the council tax support award. Where the change awarded is too small (£50 pa) the award will remain unchanged. This will be considered for all income changes relevant to a positive or negative value. 

 

You can see last year's consultation on the council tax support scheme (2017-18)

 Click here to see the current scheme Council Tax Scheme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Consultation Summary

Consultation Summary
Name Consultation on Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2018-19
Description As it is required by law, the Council is reviewing the Local Council Tax Support Scheme. (LCTS) which supports residents with low or no income in paying their council tax. The consultation is being brought to your attention to give you as much chance as possible to respond and give us your views. The scheme has been running since April 2013, and has successfully supported pensioner and working age households Context for this consultation Council Tax Support is a Council Tax discount. The level of discount awarded is based on the income of the household, known as “means testing”. Currently the maximum discount is 75.5% of council tax for working age households and up to 100% for pensioners.
Dates From 1 Nov 2017 at 10:00 to 7 Dec 2017 at 12:00. The results will be published by 11 Dec 2017.
Status Open

Organisational Information

Organisation
Department
Contact Name Jo Buchan
Job title Client Specialist - Revenues and Benefits
Contact Email jo.buchan@n-somerseet.gov.uk
Contact Telephone 01275 88 5116

Project Information

Aim of this consultation As it is required by law, the Council is reviewing the Local Council Tax Support Scheme. (LCTS) which supports residents with low or no income in paying their council tax.

The consultation is being brought to your attention to give you as much chance as possible to respond and give us your views.

The scheme has been running since April 2013, and has successfully supported pensioner and working age households.
Close Date 07 Dec 2017 12:00
Consultation Topic Your council - councillors and committees, council tax or strategies
Data collection method
Context for this consultation Council Tax Support is a Council Tax discount. The level of discount awarded is based on the income of the household, known as “means testing”.
Currently the maximum discount is 75.5% of council tax for working age households and up to 100% for pensioners.

Who will this affect?

Working age households in North Somerset who currently receive or may apply for Council Tax Support.

Pensionable age households will NOT be affected as Central Government prescribe the Council Tax Support Scheme and this means they are protected from the council’s changes