Council Tax Changes
As part of its welfare reform programme, from next April the Government will reduce the funding it gives local councils to meet the cost of paying Council Tax benefit. This means that from April 2013 Council Tax Benefit will end in all areas of the country, including Bolsover District and will be repalced by a local scheme known as Council Tax Support Suport (CTS).
There is no standard system across the country; it is up to each area to come up with its own scheme following consultation with its local residents. The changes being introduced by the government mean there will be a shortfall that will have to be made up. This in turn means that from next April the amount of support some people receive towards paying their Council Tax could be reduced.
We have to develop a Council Tax Support scheme and under the proposals the amount of support working age people receive towards their Council tax would go down. We have undertaken a consultation exercise, which has now closed, seeking your views and the results are currently being analysed and will be available soon.
The Government have said that pensioners must be protected from the changes and will see no change to the way in which their benefit is calculated. A person is a pensioner if they have attained the qualifying age for State Pension Credit and they are not, or, if they have partner, their partner is not in receipt of Income Support, Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit.
Taken alongside other changes to welfare introduced or planned by the government, the total benefits received by some people could go down by up to £100 a month; it is important for everyone to understand how they could be affected so they can have their say, plan ahead and seek help if they are finding it difficult to meet their commitments.
To find out more and have your say:
- Read this list of Frequently Asked Questions
- Gives us your comments on-line
- Send us an email
- Phone us on 01246 242424
Are you affected by welfare reform?
The new system for calculating Council Tax Supports one of the changes being introduced as a result of the government’s welfare reforms. Some changes have already been introduced, others are scheduled and some are still proposals. Taken together, these changes could reduce the amount of benefit some people receive by up to £100 per month. If you would like to know more about the government’s wider changes to welfare and benefits – and how you might be affected – please visit Gov.uk for more information.
What is happening and when?
A new system has been put forward for calculating the amount of Council Tax Support that people receive who live in Bolsover District. During September and October 2012 we consulted people about the proposed system, and once finalised the changes will be introduced from April 2013 (the new Council Tax year). Under the proposals the amount of Council Tax Support received by some people could go down.
Why is a new system needed?
As part of its wider programme of welfare reform, the government is reducing the amount of money it gives local councils to meet the cost of paying Council Tax benefit. This means that from next April there will be a shortfall that will need to be made up – and the government has instructed councils to come up with a new, local system for calculating Council Tax benefit. We have developed proposals for a new scheme and have sought local residents views on this.
How would local people be affected?
If you currently receive Council Tax benefit, under the proposals the amount of Council Tax Support you receive could go down from April 2013. The proposed changes will affect people of working age who currently receive Council Tax benefit. The changes will not affect people currently of pensioner age. The Government have said that pensioners must be protected from the changes and will see no change to the way in which their benefit is calculated. A person is a pensioner if they have attained the qualifying age for State Pension Credit and they are not, or, if they have partner, their partner is not in receipt of Income Support, Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit.
How exactly could I be affected – how much Council Tax benefit could I lose?
The reduction would vary from person to person depending on their circumstances, so we can’t give an exact answer to this question here – we would need to look at each person on an individual basis. However, if you are of working age and currently claim Council Tax benefit you would receive less money from April 2013 under the proposals.
Some people would lose very little – less than £1 a month – but for others it would be a lot more. You can talk to one of our Benefits Officers on 01246 242443 and we can talk it through with you in more detail. You can also complete our on-line enquiry form and we will get back in touch with you.
When will the changes come in – and how will I find out if I’m affected?
Following the consultation during September and October 2012, we will finalise the new system. It will then be used for calculating Council Tax benefit from the start of the new Council Tax year, April 2013. We will publicise the changes through the local media, our own website and our residents newspaper 'Intouch'. If you are directly affected we will also write to you as soon as we can with more information.
If you think you may struggle to meet your commitments – or if you are already having difficulty because of other changes resulting from the government’s wider welfare reforms – it is important that you seek help and advice.
Who is being consulted?
The consultation took place in September and October and was open to everyone within Bolsover District, not only people whose Council Tax benefit could be reduced. We also consulted with local organisations such as welfare and support agencies.
Is this the only change taking place to welfare and benefits?
The new system for calculating Council Tax Support is only one of the changes being introduced as a result of the government’s welfare reforms. Some changes have already been introduced by the government, others are scheduled and some are still proposals. Taken together, these changes could reduce the amount of benefit some residents across Bolsover District receive by up to £100 per month.
What should I do if I’m worried I might not be able to pay my bills?
If you could be affected by these proposals then please don’t wait to seek advice until the changes have already taken effect and the amount of benefit you receive has been reduced. If you are struggling to meet your outgoings – or think you may have difficulty in the future – get in touch.
We will be able to talk through your individual circumstances in complete confidence and there are a number of things we could look at with you – such as spreading the cost of payments to reduce the amount of Council Tax you pay each month.
Please telephone 01246 242443 or complete our on-line enquiry form. There are also a number of other organisations that can provide advice about welfare and benefits issues.
If there is a shortfall in the money the council receives from the government, can’t it be covered without reducing Council Tax benefit?
We will look at other ways to reduce the impact on people who would be affected by these proposals. We have tried to be as fair as we can in coming up with the proposed system – but we want to know what you think before the scheme is finalised.
Other Advice and Support agencies you can contact for free for confidential advice:
- 2 Shires Credit Union (Savings and loans)
- Advice Derbyshire
- Citizens Advice Bureau
- Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Centre
- Mortgage Rescue Scheme
- National Debt Line
- North East Derbyshire Citizens Advice Bureau
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 09:52
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