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New streamlined benefits system gets go ahead

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Finance bosses are streamlining the way Dudley Council helps people reduce their council tax as part of plans to “cut red tape” at the authority.

Dudley Council’s cabinet agreed changes to the council tax reduction scheme at a meeting last night (Wednesday).

The scheme reduces the amount of council tax people from low income households have to pay.

People eligible for council tax reduction can apply to have their council tax bill reduced by up to 77 per cent, based on a range of criteria.

The new scheme will see fewer bills being issued by the council as these will now only be issued where the entitlement to council tax reduction changes by £3 per week - up or down.

This will be less confusing for people, and will also remove excessive paperwork.

The changes also affect those awarded Universal Credit as they will no longer need to complete an application form to apply for a reduction.

People who have left the care system and become liable for council tax will also benefit from the changes.  They will receive a 100 per cent exemption in their council tax until their 25th birthday, even if they were in care outside of the borough.

The council recently launched the Dudley Deal which makes a commitment to cut red tape and make it easier for people to work with the authority.

Councillor Steve Clark, cabinet member for finance, said:

This is about making the service we provide as efficient as it can be, and cutting red tape for people.
Through the Dudley Deal we have made a firm commitment to reducing the amount of bureaucracy and concentrating on helping people.
Reducing, what can sometimes be seen as excessive paperwork for both us and the person claiming, is a key part of that, and I am delighted to be able to do this, particularly for the people who have been in care.”

The council consulted on the proposed council tax reduction changes last year, with 75 per cent of people voting in favour of the new measures.

The new council tax reduction scheme measures come in force from April this year.

More information visit www.dudley.gov.uk/benefits

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