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Council Tax Support scheme to stay

Published on 06 December 2013

Telford & Wrekin Council is to recommend that its Council Tax Support scheme for 2013/14 remains unchanged for a further 12 months before being reviewed.

Last year the Government changed arrangements for support for Council Tax and councils had to establish local Council Tax Support (CTS) schemes.

This also gave councils discretion over applying discounts and exemptions for certain categories of property from April 2013.

It was originally planned that after 12 months Telford & Wrekin’s scheme would be reviewed and any changes made.

However the Council believes another year is needed to better understand how the scheme, introduced in April following a wide ranging consultation, is working.

The Telford & Wrekin scheme’s main changes were to:

·         Introduce an equal percentage reduction of around 21 per cent to the amount of Council Tax Support paid to all working age customers (unless they are classed as vulnerable).

·         Reduce savings and capital limits below which benefit is paid from £16,000 to £6,000

·         Introduce a £2.50 minimum award level – some people currently receive a very low level of Council Tax Benefit support.  The new scheme would end entitlement for anyone receiving less than £2.50 per week for Council Tax Support

·         Remove the current Council Tax exemptions and discounts for empty properties and second homes. It is estimated this will generate an extra £1.2 million to help offset the shortfall elsewhere

·         Introduce an empty homes premium on properties left empty for longer than 2 years –equivalent to an extra 50% of council tax.

Councillor Bill McClements, cabinet member for finance and enterprise, said: ““The new Council Tax Support Scheme is a radical change from the previous Government Scheme and it will take some time before all the implications of the changes are fully understood.

“We had intended to review the scheme after a year but I believe we need more information and a longer period in order to assess its impact and if any changes are needed.”

“As soon as we have this we will review the scheme and its effectiveness and if any changes are to be made we will consult with people.”

Further information on Telford & Wrekin Council’s Council Tax Support scheme can be found at: http://www.telford.gov.uk/www.telford.gov.uk/counciltaxsupport

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