Wealden District Council, alongside neighbouring East Sussex authorities, is consulting about options to change the current Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
The scheme helps low income households of working age to pay their council tax. Any changes would happen from April 2019.
The consultation, which began on Monday 30 July, lasts for 8 weeks and closes on Friday 21 September 2018. It is for everyone to take part in – those who claim Council Tax Reduction as well as other residents of the District.
Currently in Wealden, around 3,400 people of working age are eligible for a reduction in the amount of council tax they pay through the scheme administered by the Council. Following cuts in central government funding, Wealden’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme was last changed in 2016. Everyone of working age has to make some contribution towards their council tax. This is the same for many other local authorities. From 2019, Wealden District Council will not receive any funding from the Government for the scheme.
“By next year, all of Wealden will be covered by the roll out of Universal Credit. This will mean changes to the way we calculate support levels for those people who are helped by the scheme,” said Councillor Graham Wells, Cabinet member responsible for Housing and Benefits. “We are proposing to introduce an income grid for all working age applicants. This will ensure that weekly variations in income do not lead to frequent changes in the amount of help claimants receive through the CTRS.
“We are also proposing to limit the number of dependent children used in the reduction calculation to two. Further measures are aimed at ensuring people with disabilities are treated fairly. This will include disregarding the Carers’ Allowance which is currently taken into account as income when calculating support.
“We hope that what we are proposing will make the scheme easier to understand and to administer alongside Universal Credit .It should also reduce the effect that changes in income can have on the council tax that people have to pay.”
“None of the proposals will affect pensioners.”
The consultation on the Council Tax Support Scheme runs until 5pm on Friday 21 September. We would like to hear the views of people who benefit from the scheme as well as those who help support it through their council tax payments.
The Council Tax Reduction Scheme Consultation 2019/20 can be completed on-line through the Wealden website, www.wealden.gov.uk until Friday 21 September. Computers are available for use at the Council’s offices in Vicarage Lane, Hailsham.
Paper copies are available to those without access to the internet. Telephone 01323 443322 or call in to the Council’s Hailsham offices for a copy.