A new local Council Tax Support Scheme to replace Council Tax Benefit was agreed by St Albans City and District Council’s Cabinet last night.
The Council is required to introduce a new scheme to replace Council Tax Benefit by 2013. This is as a result of the Government’s Welfare Reform legislation which will abolish Council Tax Benefit.
Currently, the Government reimburses the Council for 100% of the amount of Council Tax Benefit paid to local claimants. Under the new system, the Council will be given a specific sum by the Government to make support discounts. This is expected to be 90% of the amount that is currently processed under Council Tax Benefit.
Earlier this year, the Council created a new draft Council Tax Support scheme for public consultation focused around offering protection to working age vulnerable groups.
Following feedback from the consultation, Cabinet agreed a new scheme for Council Tax Support on 18 October.
There are four key principles underlying the new scheme as follows:
• The most vulnerable residents should be protected. This means that people on low incomes, as defined by the scheme, and who meet the following criteria will not be asked to pay any Council Tax:
o they are of pensionable age,
o are families with children aged under 5 years-old,
o they or their partner are in receipt of a carer’s allowance,
o they, their partners or dependents meet the disability criteria under the scheme, or
o they are in receipt of war disablement pension or war widow’s pension.
• Everyone else should pay something. Everyone not meeting the criteria above, but on a low income, as defined by the scheme, will be required to pay at least 30% towards their Council Tax.
• The scheme should incentivise work. Residents who are working, but are on a low income, as defined by the scheme, will be able to keep more of what they earn before they need to contribute to their Council Tax Bill.
• Everyone in the household should contribute. The new scheme will increase the amount contributed to Council Tax where there are other adults in the claimant’s homes, except for those on the lowest incomes.
Cllr Brian Ellis, Portfolio Holder for Housing for the Council, said: “In developing the scheme, the Council has carried out a public consultation with residents and claimants of Council Tax Benefits. The new scheme is designed to protect the most vulnerable residents in the District who are on low incomes. It is also aimed at rewarding people who are in work.”
The legislation required to introduce new localised Council Tax Support schemes is still progressing through Parliament. The new scheme will be subject to this legislation being passed. It is expected that the new scheme will come into effect from the beginning of April 2013.
Details of the new scheme are included in the papers for the meeting
which are available on the Council’s website.
Councillor Brian Ellis, Portfolio Holder for Housing for St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01582 767621
Contact for the media:
Media and Internal Communications Officer
St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 819317