London Borough of Barnet

Council launches major consultation on new Council Tax Support scheme

Published Thursday 2 August 2012

Residents’ views are being sought by Barnet Council on a range of options for a new Council Tax Support Scheme.

The new scheme, which will be introduced in April 2013, will replace the current Council Tax Benefit.

The government is abolishing Council Tax Benefit on 31 March 2013 and is asking every local council to replace it with a local reduction scheme, called Council Tax Support.

The government has told councils that the funding they provide will be 10 per cent less than the funding for Council Tax Benefit. .

Pensioners will be protected and see no changes to their entitlement.

However, everybody of working age who currently claims Council Tax Benefit, and anyone of working age who may need to claim in the future, will be directly affected by these proposed changes. Given the level of savings which need to be made it is very likely that everyone of working age, unless they are in a protected group, will have to pay something towards their Council Tax bill.

Council Tax Benefit helps people on low incomes to pay their Council Tax. In Barnet last year (2011-12) £32.2 million was spent on Council Tax Benefit. Over the past five years, Council Tax Benefits have risen each year because more people are claiming.

Councillor Daniel Thomas, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance, said: “This 10 per cent reduction means all councils will have to make some difficult decisions on how much help people claiming the new Council Tax Support can get.

“We estimate we would need to find £4.4 million to deal with the growth in demand and we are consulting on a variety of different ways to do this.

“We are considering options for a new scheme that are as fair to all members of our community as possible. It is really important that everyone, regardless of whether they currently claim benefit or not, has their say on our proposals before our scheme is finalised.”

Further information about the proposals and the consultation document can be found here

Contact Press Officer: Sue Cocker