North Lincolnshire Council is carrying out a consultation with residents to get their views on proposed changes to the Council Tax Support Scheme for 2018/19.
Council tax support is currently provided to around 14,000 households in North Lincolnshire at an annual cost of approximately £9m. This includes pension and working age households. Approximately 49 per cent of these households are working age. The cost of the Council Tax Support Scheme is met by the council and precepting authorities – police and fire.
Eligibility for accessing the council tax support for both working age and pension age households is dependent on levels of household income.
Currently working age households in receipt of council tax reduction support (previously Council Tax Benefit) receive up to 77 per cent of their council tax bill supported through the reduction.
Under the new proposals for 2018/19, working age households who are in receipt of disability benefits will be protected at the same level. Other working age households will receive a discount of up to 50 per cent on their annual council tax bill.
Pension age households will not be affected by the proposed changes and eligible households will continue to receive up to 100 per cent discount.
The council is working hard to help people find jobs and reduce their reliance on council tax support. In October 2015, it opened Action Station in Scunthorpe Town Centre – aimed at helping people find work and training opportunities. It also offers support at various events and activities to support people into work.
The council will continue to provide a hardship scheme to help those in genuine need.
The consultation will cover:
The level of support that is available to working age customers
The options for protecting certain groups specified within the scheme
The options for additional housekeeping type changes within the fabric of the scheme
Councillor Rob Waltham, leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “It is important that we strike the right balance when determining the levels of council tax support. The proposals are set within the agreed budget and continue to provide support to people who need it.
“However, we are committed to protecting support for pensioners. It is important that we encourage people in to work in the interests of ensuring that the council has the resources to pay for the services that residents value. £9m is a considerable amount of money and in the interests of fairness, we need to ensure that people of working age contribute toward the services they benefit from.
“We are seeing more and more people in paid employment in North Lincolnshire and the council working in partnerships with other organisations continue to support people to find work and ensure they have the right skills and training necessary.”
The consultation runs until November 10. To have your say on the proposed changes to the Council Tax Support Scheme, complete the online survey at www.northlincs.gov.uk/current-consultations.