Public asked for views on council tax support
Published on Monday, June 26, 2017
LEICESTER residents are being asked for their views on options that could see changes made to local council tax support.
The city council is revisiting proposals that could see a change in the level of support offered through its council tax reduction scheme.
Currently, around 20,000 city households on low incomes or benefits are supported through the scheme, meaning that they may only have to pay 20 per cent towards their council tax (currently £223 for a band A property)
The local scheme was introduced in 2013, when the Government withdrew funding for council tax benefit.
Since then, the city council has seen further and severe cuts to the funding it receives from Government. As a result, the city council needs to save around £40million a year by 2020, and has to make difficult choices about how it funds services in the future.
The council tax reduction scheme is expected to cost the council around £22milllion next year, and is becoming increasingly difficult to fund at current levels.
As a result, the council is looking again at various options for how the scheme should be supported in future and asking the public for its views.
As part of a nine week consultation that launches today (Monday 26 June), people are being asked whether low income households should continue to pay a minimum of 20 per cent towards their council tax bills as they do at present, or whether they should pay 25 or 30 per cent towards their council tax in future.
The 25 per cent option would see affected households in band A properties paying up to £1.07 per week more towards their council tax bill. This would save the council around £900,000 per year.
The 30 per cent option would save the council around £1.7milllion per year, and see affected households in band A properties paying up to £2.14 extra per week.
The options being considered do not affect pensioners, and the city council will continue to keep discretionary funding available to help the most vulnerable taxpayers.
A similar consultation took place in August 2016 and drew 570 responses. However, it was agreed to postpone any decision on the proposals for a year.
As part of the new consultation, people are also being asked for views on a further option to change council tax reduction. The council is proposing a flat-rate deduction of £4.75 for each non-dependent adult in a household, to bring it into line with rules used for universal credit.
Any savings made from this change would be used to automatically extend council tax support for at least four weeks after a claimant has started work.
The consultation runs until 27 August and is available online at consultations.leicester.gov.uk
Staff will be available at a number of events over the coming weeks to answer any queries about the options being considered. Details of events taking place over the next few days are as follows:
- New Parks Library coffee morning – Tuesday (27 Jun) from 10am-1pm
- Leicester Market – Thursday (29 Jun) all day
- Beaumont Leys Library– Thursday (29 Jun) from 9.30am-4pm
- Eyres Monsell Community Centre – Monday (3 July) from 10am-2pm
Printed copies of the consultation questionnaire will also be available in libraries and the council’s customer service centre on Granby Street.