Have your say on changes to council tax benefits

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Proposed changes to council tax benefits would see more than 1,000 households better off – but some 280 would be out of pocket.

Crawley Borough Council is reviewing its Council Tax Reduction Scheme after the Government stopped paying the full cost of support with council tax bills in April and is seeking residents’ views on proposals.

The council agreed a scheme which is designed to be fair and to assist some of the most vulnerable people in our community while encouraging people back to work.

The following three changes are proposed:

1. In the current scheme child maintenance is taken into account when calculating the council tax reduction a household may be entitled to. The council proposes to disregard £15 a week of child maintenance in future benefiting 75 households by an average £45 a year.

2. In households where there are other people (non-dependants) living who are in receipt of benefits, their benefits are not currently classed as income when calculating council tax reduction. The proposal is to treat benefit income in the same way as other income in future. This does not affect pensioners on guaranteed credit. This would affect 280 households with an average reduction in benefit of £164.25 a year.

3. The reduction of the taper to 20 per cent from 25 per cent. This would benefit 1,198 households by an average of £86.05 a year.

The taper is a complex formula which allows working households on low incomes to receive help towards paying their council tax. The amount of benefit they receive depends on how much income they have coming into their household, compared to a living allowance set by the council.

Cllr Richard Burrett, cabinet member for housing, said: “These proposed changes are designed to simplify our Council Tax Reduction Scheme whilst maintaining its ability to encourage people who can work to get back into employment.

“We want to be as fair as possible, making sure we’re supporting the most vulnerable people in our community. So please give us your views by answering the questions on our website.”

If they have more money than their ‘living allowance’ they are required to pay 25p each week for every additional £1 in earned income. The proposal is that this changes to 20p for every £1. Some will not be affected by the changes, including pensioners and parents of children under five receiving Income Support.

n Visit www.crawley.gov.uk/counciltaxreduction to find out more and submit comments by Friday September 20.

n If you have any questions email CTRS@crawley.gov.uk or call 01293 438718.