Council Tax Support Scheme consultation
Have your say on changes to Council Tax Support.
The Coalition Government has announced that from 1 April 2013 Council Tax Benefit will be abolished and replaced by a new Council Tax Support Scheme.
Each Council will have to develop and introduce its own individual Council Tax Support Scheme by March 2013 when the annual Council Tax bills are issued.
Mansfield District Council will have its funding for Council Tax Support cut by around 10% by the Coalition Government.
The funding reduction for Mansfield District Council and other organisations who receive a share of your Council Tax bill, such as Nottinghamshire County Council, Nottinghamshire Police Authority and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue, will be well over £1m.
Council Tax Benefit helps people on low incomes pay their Council Tax; however, these changes will only apply to people of working age.
The Coalition Government is in the process of introducing major changes to welfare benefits to reduce the budget deficit - this is known as Welfare Reform. Many existing benefits will be abolished and replaced by a simpler single benefit called Universal Credit. This will only apply to people of working age as pensioners will be fully protected.
The Government wants to reduce welfare dependency and create a system where work pays. At the same time it wants to take steps so that the cost of providing national welfare benefits doesn't become unaffordable.
Mansfield District Council's draft scheme
We have developed a draft Council Tax Support Scheme which will help cover some, but not all of the funding gap. Our main proposals follow the current national Council Tax Benefit Scheme but with some changes. This will mean that:
- Everyone of working age will pay something towards their Council Tax bill
- Work incentives will be built into the scheme, and
- People with children or disabilities will continue to be protected as we will not count Child Benefit or Disability Living Allowance as income in our calculations.
To help reduce this budget gap further we anticipate that we will have to make changes to some of the discounts we award on empty properties, second homes and properties that are being structurally repaired. Single person discounts of 25% will not change in any way.
We need to have the new Council Tax Support Scheme in place by 31 January 2013 and operational from 1 April 2013. We are asking you to give us your views so that we can devise a final scheme which is fair and makes the best use of the funding available. The questionnaire is available at Snap Surveys.
The consultation period opens on Monday 10 September 2012 and closes on Sunday 4 November 2012.
We have set up a dedicated telephone helpline 01623 463 522 to answer any enquiries you may have about the draft scheme and related issues.
The line will be open from 9am to 4pm on weekdays throughout the consultation period.
What happens next?
The information you supply will be used to help us make a decision on the final Council Tax Support Scheme. The decision will be taken in December 2012 and the results of the consultation will be available shortly afterwards on the Council's website.
The information you provide will be kept confidential and used solely by Mansfield District Council's Revenues and Benefits department.