2. Why has the council introduced this policy?
2.1 This policy sets out the criteria that needs to be met and the type of information to be provided when a council taxpayer applies for a reduction in their Council Tax under our discretionary powers.
2.2 There are two ways by which we can use our discretionary powers to give a reduction in Council Tax:
2.2.1 S13a1c of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (as amended) provides the billing authority with additional discretionary powers to reduce the Council Tax liability where national discounts and exemptions cannot be applied:
a. Where a person is liable to pay Council Tax in respect of any chargeable dwelling and day, the billing authority for the area in which the dwelling is situated may reduce the amount which he is liable to pay as respects the dwelling and the day to such extent as it thinks fit.
b. The power under subsection 1) above includes the power to reduce an amount to nil.
c. The power under subsection 1) may be exercised in relation to particular cases or by determining a class of case in which liability is to be reduced to an extent provided by the determination.
This is referred to in our policy as a Section 13a1c discretionary Council Tax reduction. This is wholly funded by us, except when central government has used this provision to provide grant funding for specific issues, for example the winter 2013/14 flooding.
2.2.2 In addition to our Council Tax Reduction Scheme Policy (Section 13a1a of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as amended), EDDC has an Exceptional Hardship Fund (EHF). The EHF is available to cover the shortfall between Council Tax liability and payments of Council Tax Support. The funding of EHF is through the collection fund and is paid for by all preceptors in proportion to their share of Council Tax
2.3 The purpose of bringing the two discretionary schemes under the one policy allows for applications to be considered under the one framework and therefore removes the requirement for the council taxpayer having to apply under both discretionary provisions. It also means that we have one financial assessment criteria ensuring that applicants are treated fairly and consistently.