Residents are being consulted on possible changes to Brighton & Hove City Council’s 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 the council £15.7 million next year but the funding provided by the government will only be £11.6 million. This means there will be a shortfall of at least £4.1 million to pay for the scheme.
Under the draft scheme, the council would absorb around £3.8 million of this shortfall, and the possible changes are:
- To increase the amount that CTR goes down by for every extra £1 increase in the income a household receives (known as ‘the taper’) from 20p to 25p
- To set the maximum rate CTR will pay at 80% of Council Tax Band D
- To set the minimum amount of CTR to £5 per week, meaning that households entitled to CTR of less than £5 a week will pay the full amount of Council Tax
The possible changes to the scheme are in the context of rising costs and the loss of government funding, meaning the council needs to save another £44m over the next three years – on top of significant cuts over the last few years.
Councillor Les Hamilton, Deputy Chair (Financial) of the Policy & Resources Committee, said: “The budget pressures we face are challenging. We have to strike a balance between limiting the impact of the government’s funding reduction to support people with Council Tax on the most vulnerable households and the affect any increase in council funding has on the other vital services we provide. We will contact everyone who could be affected by the possible amendments to ask for their comments and welcome views from other residents in the city.”
There are national rules for pensioners but the council has to set its own rules for working age people.
You can read the draft Council Tax Reduction scheme 2017/18 and have your say at www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/ctr.