What is Council Tax Reduction?
People on a low income can apply to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (sometimes known as Council Tax Support) for a decrease in the amount of Council Tax they have to pay. They have to go through a lengthy means test to see if they qualify for a discount, and if they do, how much of one they receive. The discount they get is determined by their income, capital and other household factors. Currently the maximum discount available is 80% for working age households and up to 100% for pensioners.
In East Devon, 7,204 people currently receive a discount on their Council Tax through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme. The total cost of the Council Tax Reduction scheme is £7.3 million, these costs are spread across:
- East Devon District Council (7%)
- Devon County Council (73%)
- Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority (5%)
- Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall (11%)
- Town/Parish Councils (4%)
The proportion of Council Tax that each organisation receives is shown in brackets.
Why are we having this consultation?
Every year we have to decide whether to change the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for working age applicants in our area. This year we're proposing that significant changes should be made. Before we can make any changes, we need to ask you what you think about the changes we're proposing.
Why are we considering changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme?
Due to the roll out of Universal Credit, the traditional link will no longer exist between Housing Benefit (which will not be available to the majority of new working age claimants) and Council Tax Reduction. This is leading to the administration costs of the current scheme going up, which could result in East Devon's Council Tax also going up. If we make no changes to our scheme, cuts would have to be made in other services or we'd have to use our savings (but using savings would only help in the short term). We need to simplify the administration of the scheme to reduce the costs of providing it.
We can only change the scheme for households of working age, as pensioners are protected by Central Government's rules.
We want to know what you think about these proposed changes through a consultation running from 12 September to 10 November 2019. To have your say please complete the online questionnaire.
If you need a paper copy of this consultation, or a copy in any other format, including large print, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01395 571665.
What happens next?
The results from this consultation will be:
- published here later this year
- used to help decide on the scheme
The Council intends to make a final decision on the scheme on 8 January 2020.