Scheme helping low income households pay council tax is under review

Changes to a system that helps low income households of working age to pay their council tax are being considered by Wealden District Council.Wealden logo best for widescreen 18-01

The council says, in a press release, that it might have to consider increasing council tax to help pay for the council tax reduction scheme.

Or it might have to consider a reduction in funding for some services or use council reserves.

Other options include bringing in a minimum amount that households of working age will be expected to pay, changing the amount of savings and investments applicants may hold before applying and assuming a minimum income level for self-employed applicants.

The council stressed none of the proposals would affect pensioners.

Cllr Graham Wells, Wealden cabinet member with responsibility for benefits said they “would like to see changes that incentivise work.”

The district council along with neighbouring East Sussex authorities, is consulting about the options for change over nine weeks beginning tomorrow, Thursday, July 16.

Cllr Wells said a proportion of the amount of support given to working age households, who might otherwise struggle to pay their council tax in Wealden, has been met since 2013 by local authorities, including the county council.

He added that in 2015/16 this would amount to some £9.1 million.

“It is important that the changes we make are fair to all residents of the district. We would also like to see changes that incentivise work.

“I hope as many people as possible take part in this consultation. We will then be in a better position to make a decision later this year.”

The survey will be available on the Wealden website from tomorrow and can be completed on-line. Paper copies are available to those without access to the internet. Call 01323 443322 or call in at the council’s Hailsham offices for a copy.

Wealden Council withdrew or reduced other council tax discounts in 2013, such as those on second homes and unoccupied properties to help fund the council tax reduction scheme.

Any changes made to the scheme will be introduced in the 2016/17 council tax year.

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