Have your say on Mid Devon Council’s proposals to change the Council Tax Reduction Scheme

What is this consultation about?

Each year we have to review how much reduction in Council Tax is given to people of working age on low income and publish this in a Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

Devon County Council, Devon and Cornwall Police and the Fire Authority (Precepting Authorities) receive a percentage of the overall council tax collected by Mid Devon Council. The Council Tax reduction scheme therefore reduces the amount available to the precepting authorities  

We are working with other Devon Councils to consider changes to our scheme from 1 April 2017. We want you to tell us what you think about the proposed changes. Your views will be taken into account when it is decided whether the changes should be made.

What is the current working age Council Tax Reduction Scheme?

Mid Devon Council’s scheme is based on the previous national Council Tax Benefit scheme but has 4 main changes

  • Maximum reduction is 80% of Council Tax
  • Limited to Council Tax Band D
  • Capital limit of £8000
  • Exceptional Hardship Fund (providing additional financial support for vulnerable people)

To view our current scheme Council Tax Reduction Scheme v1.91.  

What changes are being proposed?

We are proposing 8 changes from 1 April 2017 to bring the Council Tax Reduction scheme in line with the changes being made by Central Government to Housing Benefit and Universal Credit. These changes are to encourage work and reduce the levels of benefit available to some.

The proposed changes should make it easier for applicants to understand the scheme, as there will be similar rules in Housing Benefit and Universal Credit. Using similar rules should also make it more efficient and less costly to run the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

To view a summary of the proposed changes see Summary of proposed changes to Council Tax Reduction Scheme. The full document is more complex but the summary should help with your queries. If you still have any questions please contact us.

Who will this affect?

Working age households in the district who receive or may apply for Council Tax Reduction from 1 April 2017. Each of the proposed changes may affect working age households in different ways. The Council Tax Reduction Scheme also influences the way we spend Council Tax payers money. 

Households of State Pension age have their scheme set by Central Government so are not directly impacted by these proposals.

Alternatives to changing the current Council Tax Reduction scheme we have considered

Continuing with the current scheme

The cost of administering the scheme falls to the council. Funding from Central Government is reducing therefore continuing with the current scheme could result in additional cost for all Council Tax payers. A significant increase in Council Tax may require a local referendum which is costly. Also not aligning our scheme with Housing Benefit and Universal Credit could result in higher costs. This could mean:

Reduced funding to other Council Services

Keeping the current council Tax Reduction scheme could mean less money available to deliver other Council services.

Use the Council’s reserves to keep the current Council Tax reduction scheme

Using reserves (savings) would be a short term option. Once used savings will no longer be available to support and invest in other Council Services.

Tell us what you think?

We want to know what you think about these proposed changes through a consultation running from 4 July to 4 September 2016. To have your say you need to complete a questionnaire. You can do this by completing the online form MDDC CTRS Questionnaire.

If you are not able to complete the form online, we can send you a form please contact us and we will send you one.

Alternatively, call us on 01884 255555 by asking for the Benefit team, or you can pick up a questionnaire at our offices, see Contact details and opening hours.

What happens next?

The information from this consultation will be used to assist us in making our decision on the scheme from 1 April 2017. The results from the consultation will be published later this year on our website.

A final decision on what the scheme will look like will be made by councillors no later than 31 January 2017.

We will write to you if you are already receiving Council Tax Reduction and may be affected by any of the proposed changes.

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