3 September 2015

Have your say on the new Council Tax Reduction scheme

Residents are being consulted on changes Brighton & Hove City Council proposes to make to its Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme next year as government funding reductions leave a multimillion pound shortfall.

CTR, which subsidises the amount that low income working age households pay towards their Council Tax, is due to cost £17 million next year but the funding provided by the Government will only be £13.4 million. This means there will be a shortfall of £3.6 million to pay for the scheme.

Under the proposed plan the council absorbs around £2.5 million of this shortfall. The proposed changes include:

  • increase the minimum contribution those affected have to pay from 15% to 25% but limit that for those that are already in receipt to £3.50 extra per week as a result of that change
  • remove the Family Premium from the calculation of council tax reduction for new claims and changes of circumstances that will mean some families that receive CTR will contribute more
  • increase the length that extended payments are made so that those that gain employment will have payments extended from the current 4 weeks to six weeks to help residents back into work

These proposals are in the context of rising costs and the loss of government funding, meaning the council needs to save around £100m over the next four years.

Brighton & Hove City Council is one of many that offers a fund to help vulnerable households and has increased this discretionary fund from £100,000 to £150,000 this year. During 2014-2015 the council made 712 awards through this fund.

There are national rules for pensioners but the council has to set its own rules for working age people.

The council must publish a draft scheme when it consults on possible changes but wants to hear peoples’ views on a wide range of options including how much people on Council Tax Reduction should pay before they get any benefit, what the impact of the national budget will be, and how the scheme might used to help people into work so they don’t have to rely on benefits in the long term.

Brighton & Hove City Council will contact everyone who might be affected by any changes to ask them to respond but is also interested in hearing from other residents in the City.

The consultation can be found here