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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > September 2012 > Council Tax Support

Have your say on changes to Council Tax Support

Local views are being sought on a scheme to help safeguard low income and vulnerable families from the impact of government changes to Council Tax Support. 

 

Over 13,000 households in the borough currently receive help to pay their Council Tax through Council Tax Benefit. At present, the cost of providing this help is met by central government.

 

However, from 1st April 2013 the government will be reducing the funding paid to all local authorities by at least 10%. This means Bedford Borough faces a shortfall of approximately £1.6million every year.
 
In addition, all councils will receive a fixed amount of funding for Council Tax Support every year, regardless of whether the cost of supporting households changes. This means that the shortfall would increase in future years if more households qualified to receive support.
 
The government has instructed all local councils to implement their own schemes to provide Council Tax Support. Bedford Borough Council is now consulting with local residents in order to minimise the impact on those who may be affected by the changes.
 
The scheme put forward by Bedford Borough Council sets out to protect the most vulnerable, while cracking down on those who cheat the benefit system:
 
• There will be no changes to the support given to pensioners
• The vast majority of other households will continue to receive a similar amount of support with their Council Tax. Special allowances for households with children or people with disabilities will continue in the same way as at present
• Households with total savings above £8,000 will be expected to pay Council Tax.
• There will be new measures that would prevent anyone who commits benefit or Council Tax Support fraud from receiving assistance for 6 months.
• Owners of some unoccupied properties will no longer be entitled to an exemption from Council Tax, but some properties including those where the owner has died or moved into residential care will continue to be exempt. 
 
Councillor Shan Hunt, Executive Member for Revenue and Benefits, said: “I want to reassure everyone we are working hard to limit the impact of this government-imposed change on local people. There will be no changes to support with Council Tax received by pensioners. Most other households will also continue to receive a similar amount of support as they do at the moment.” 

The consultation closes on 19th November 2012. All responses will be considered and a decision will be made in January 2013. Any Council Tax bills affected will be adjusted from April 2013.

You can respond to the consultation in the following ways:

Online: www.bedford.gov.uk/ctrs

By email: consultingbedford@bedford.gov.uk

By post:  CONSULTING BEDFORD
               FREEPOST ANG5840
               BEDFORD
               MK40 1ZD                                   


By phone: 01234 228435

In person:  Documents and response forms are available at any Bedford Borough library, Borough Hall reception area and the Customer Service Centre, Horne Lane, Bedford.

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