Council Tax Consultation gets Underway
South Tyneside Council will be consulting on changes to the current Council Tax reduction scheme from next week (Monday 17 July) for a period of eight weeks.
The Council is looking to bring forward changes to the scheme, which supports over 10,000 people to bring it in line with its ambition to target support to make things fairer.
Cllr Joanne Bell, Lead member for Governance, Finance and Corporate Services said: "We are committed to targeting support to make things fairer and the changes will still help over 10,000 working age people in South Tyneside who need help with their council tax bills due to their personal circumstances. This is about making a fairer and more transparent council tax support system that is easier to both understand and administer.
"We want to know what customers think of the proposed scheme during a consultation exercise which will run for the next eight weeks, people will have until 11th September to have their say."
Entitlement under the current scheme is determined through the award of personal allowance, premiums, and tapers. The rules of the current scheme can be difficult for customers to understand how changes in income, capital and household circumstances affect their benefit entitlement.
The proposal is to move to a banded scheme that is easier to understand. Customers will fall into one of five groups based upon income levels and the amount of support that they will be awarded will be clearly linked to each group.
Customer entitlement will be determined by the group linked to their net income and household circumstance. The amount of support paid to the customer will only change if their new net income or household circumstances results in them moving into a different group.
A set percentage reduction will apply to those customers in receipt of a passported benefit and on the lowest incomes. For those customers who are not in receipt of one of these benefits their entitlement will be determined by their net income and household circumstances. We will continue to disregard the incomes currently disregarded in the current scheme such as Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments.
Other key features of the proposed new scheme include:
- Capital under £16k will be ignored.
- Non dependant deductions will be removed which will result in higher awards.
- Council Tax Support can be backdated up to 12 months, previously 1 month.
- Changes will be applied from the effective date instead of the Monday following.
Councils adopted local council support schemes back in 2013. South Tyneside's has largely been based upon the previous national council tax benefit scheme. The local scheme is considered annually by Council and minor revisions have been linked to uprates in national welfare benefit.
Consultation on the proposals will open on Monday 17th July and run until 11th September 2023.
The consultation questionnaire will be available on the council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/haveyoursay
Hard copies will be available at South Shields Town Hall, Jarrow Town Hall, The Word, Hebburn Central, Jarrow Focus and Cleadon Park Library.
Presentations on the proposals will be made at the meetings of each Community Area Forum during the consultation period.