Council tax support
Local support scheme for council tax
The Government has announced that from April 2013, council tax benefit will be replaced by a scheme called council tax support, which will be run locally by Council's.
As part of this change, the Government has given councils the freedom to create their own council tax support schemes or to work with other local councils on a shared scheme.
This shortage in funding means we have had to make some difficult decisions about who gets financial support and how much they will get. It is important to note that the Government have stated that pensioner claimants will not be affected by these changes, so they will affect working age residents only.
What is council tax?
Council Tax is a local tax used to fund council services. It is collected by Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council but is shared between us, Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire Police Authority, to provide a full range of services - from refuse collection to social services and schools. Council Tax is based on the valuation band that your property is in.
What is council tax benefit?
Currently households who have a low amount of income pay a reduced or in some cases zero amount of Council Tax through Council Tax Benefit (CTB).
CTB is a means tested benefit that is worked out using national rules and regulations. We claim the money we pay out for Council Tax Benefit from the Government.
In Nuneaton and Bedworth last year, we paid out over £10 million in council tax benefit.
What is Local Council Tax Support?
The Government is abolishing council tax benefit and all Councils have to replace it with their own scheme called council tax support (CTS). The new scheme needs to be agreed and published by 31 January 2013 and will start from April 2013.
From April 2013 we will be given a fixed budget by the Government for providing council tax support - this means that we cannot claim back all of the money that we currently spend on council tax benefit. The fixed budget will be at least ten per cent less than what we pay out now. Based on our current levels of spending and future forecasts, this means we have to save approximately £1.4 million in 2013-14. The amount that we need to save is likely to go up in future years if council tax bills increase or if more people claim benefit.
A consultation took place from 6th August 2012 to 28th September 2012 and focussed on 8 key proposals of the scheme. All responses to the consultation were considered and final recommendations were made.
Our Local Council Tax Support Scheme was agreed by full Council on 12th December 2012. A copy of the full policy can be found in the downloads. There is also a summary available as well as some frequently asked questions.
The main principle of our Local Council Tax Support Scheme is that everyone of working age will have to pay 20% of their Council Tax charge before any entitlement to Council Tax Support is calculated.
A claim is classed as working age if the applicant and their partner are under the State Pension Credit age. The age that you are classed as being a pensioner is gradually increasing from 60 to 68 over the years through to 2020. By 6th March 2013 you will be classed as being of State Pension Credit age if your birthday falls before 5th April 1951.
To check when you will be classed as State Pension Credit age you can visit www.gov.uk/calculate-state-pension
To find out how you may be affected please contact our benefits department on 024 7637 6514.