Dudley Council is asking residents for their views on the borough’s existing council tax support scheme for low income households.
In April 2013, the coalition government abolished the national council tax benefit scheme and replaced it with new local council tax support schemes designed and run by individual local councils.
Dudley has continued to run a council tax reduction (CTR) scheme whereby low income households can receive a means tested reduction in their council tax bill. Low-income pensioners will continue to receive this benefit regardless of any proposed changes.
Dudley Council currently grants around £19m in council tax reduction, while still collecting around £120m in council tax. However, like many councils, Dudley continues to face ongoing reductions in its central government funding and therefore needs to decide whether or not to change its council tax reduction scheme in 2017.
The current scheme means that all working age Dudley households, eligible to receive CTR, have to pay at least 20 per cent of the full council tax liability for their property. There are three proposals for the 2017/18 version of the scheme which people are being consulted on. These are to leave the scheme as it is at 20 per cent; to increase the amount of council tax people benefiting from the scheme to 22 per cent; to increase the amount of council tax they pay to 25 per cent.
Councillor David Sparks, Dudley Council’s cabinet member for corporate and customer services, said:
“Dudley, like many councils has been hit hard by central government cuts and whilst we have done all that we can to protect those on lower incomes, we are investigating whether a small increase in council tax payment by those people currently in receipt of CTR is feasible or whether we should retain the status quo.
“I hope that our residents take the opportunity to have their say during this twelve week consultation as their views are extremely important to us.”
Following the consultation a final decision on the proposals is expected to be taken by full council in the autumn.
An online version is currently available here and paper copies will roll out libraries and Dudley Council Plus in the next few weeks.
Note to editors:
1 Council tax reduction is means tested and is paid to some low income households to help them meet their council tax liability. The amount paid varies on income levels
2 Low income pensioners are a protected group unaffected by this consultation and are eligible for a reduction of up to 100 per cent in their council tax depending on their income
3 Single person discounts of 25 per cent for all single person households will continue to apply