Consultation starts on planned changes to Council Tax Support scheme
People in Telford and Wrekin are being asked for their views on planned changes to the scheme that offers support to residents of working age on lowest incomes with the costs of council tax.
Since 2013, councils have been responsible for their own Council Tax Support schemes which replaced a national scheme.
The introduction of Universal Credit in the borough has added another level of complexity to the existing scheme. Many customers are now receiving new Council Tax bills every month even though they have only had small changes in their income.
Telford & Wrekin Council is now proposing to alter its scheme to make it fairer, easier to administer and simpler for residents to understand. Pension age customers will not be affected as they continue to be covered by a national scheme.
The changes the Council will consult on will attempt to re-distribute support to the most financially vulnerable. The proposed scheme would see a maximum 90% discount awarded to those who need it most.
The proposals to the Council Tax Support scheme also include replacing the current means tested approach with an income grid that sets out specific levels of discount.
Around 14,200 people in the borough currently receive a council tax reduction under the current scheme which costs the Council £12.4 million per year. A hardship fund which operates under the current system will also be continued. The planned changes to the scheme would come into force in April 2020.
Cllr Lee Carter, cabinet member for finance, said: “The key changes we are proposing would see a fairer scheme that’s simpler to understand and administer but most importantly will ensure that those most in need receive support.
“We have protected this vital support to residents at a time when other Local Authorities have continually increased the amount that the most financially vulnerable have to pay towards their Council Tax.
“We will be contacting current Council Tax Support recipients in the next few days by email and text message, so that they can have their say. Equally anyone in the borough is very welcome to give us their views too.”
More information on the proposed changes and an online consultation form can be accessed at www.telford.gov.uk/CTRconsultation. The consultation runs from 30 September until 10 November.