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Council seeks views on new Council Tax Reduction scheme
Release date: Tue, 27/11/2012
Bristol residents are being asked to give their views on changes to the way help with paying Council Tax is provided to those on low incomes.
The government is abolishing the current national Council Tax Benefit Scheme and every local authority is developing its own alternative support scheme and identifying ways of meeting the shortfall in funding. Bristol can raise £2.5m through its removal of discounts for second homes and lower allowances for empty properties, but that still leaves a £5 million shortfall.
Bristol City Council recently carried out a public consultation on three options for a new local scheme. Views from the consultation have been analysed and are being reported to the Mayor, to inform the decision on the new scheme at the budget council meeting on 15 January.
On 16 October, the government announced a one-off grant scheme for councils to apply for, to help fund the move to local Council Tax Reduction schemes. Bristol could receive a one-off payment of £790,000.
The council is therefore looking for people’s views on three further options for the new scheme (options four, five and six), in response to the recently announced government criteria. These are:
Option 4: A part-funded scheme - all ‘non-protected’ low income households would pay a minimum of 8.5% of their council tax liability. Features of the scheme would provide incentives to work and the ‘second adult rebate scheme’ would be removed for working age claimants.
Option 5: A fully funded scheme - this would be very similar to the current Council Tax Benefit scheme, but with features to provide incentives to work and the ‘second adult rebate scheme’ would be removed for working age claimants. It would see less change and impact on claimants, but the council would have to fund it by reducing spending on other services, or increasing Council Tax.
Option 6: A fully funded scheme - this would be very similar to the current Council Tax Benefit scheme, without the features described in options 4 and 5. It would see minimum change and impact on claimants, but the council would have to fund it by reducing spending on other services, or increasing Council Tax.
The council would like to hear people’s views on the new options being considered, before a final decision is made. People can get in touch:
By telephone: 0117 352 6542
By post: to The Consultation Team G27/CH, Freepost SWB535, Bristol, BS1 5BR
More information and full details of all six options are available at www.bristol.gov.uk/counciltaxchanges
Bristol residents are being asked to give their views on the latest options by 14 December 2012. The final decision on the new scheme will be taken at the budget council meeting on 15 January.