£1.3 million cut in Council Tax support for South Somerset residents
By jashby1 | Thursday, August 09, 2012, 15:03
South Somerset District Council has started a resident consultation on the support some residents currently receive towards Council Tax.
The huge cut will mean a total reorganisation of the Council Tax Benefit system - how will you and your family be affected? Use the comment box provided to have your say.
From 1 April 2013 the Government will stop this support - currently called Council Tax Benefit - and local councils have been tasked to design a new local Council Tax support scheme.
The amount of money the council will receive to fund Council Tax support will be reduced by approximately 10%. SSDC estimates that the budget they will have for the new scheme will be £1.3 million less than the current system.
This reduction means some difficult decisions will have to be taken do decide who gets financial support and how much.
What It could mean:
* People who pay no council tax at the moment may soon have to contribute.
* People who currently pay part of their Council Tax may have to pay more.
The Government has decided that people who have attained the qualifying age for State Pension Credit will be protected from any reduction in support due to the new scheme.
However, in the case of a couple, where one is of Pension Credit age and one is of working age and in receipt of Income Support, Income Based Jobseekers Allowance or Income Related Employment and Support Allowance they are not protected and will receive less financial help under the proposed new local scheme.
The reduction in funding will otherwise only affect working age claimants.
The district council have put together their proposals for a new local Council Tax support scheme and now is your chance to express your views on them.
Follow this link to complete this important survey online. You can also pick up a copy at local council offices
or by calling (01935) 462404.
The local scheme proposals, if all agreed, will cover the £1.3 million cut imposed by the Government.
If they are not each local authority can do some or all of the following:
* Introduce some of the proposals.
* Increase Council Tax.
* Cut the level and range of local services.
A combination of all of these would impact on every South Somerset resident and therefore it is important that the opinion of all residents is taken into account - resident views and opinions will help decide on the final scheme design.
Ric Pallister, Leader of the Council said: "The Government has made it clear that due to national economic pressures the transfer of responsibility and the reduction in funding from April 2013 will happen.
"We therefore have some very difficult decisions to make in minimising the impact on those currently receiving financial support. It is important to us that we find out what our residents views and opinions are before the final design is approved by Members in December 2012."
Use the comment box below to have your say on this very important issue.