Background

Bath & North East Somerset Council is proposing to make some changes to the Local Council Tax Support scheme for working age people.  Council Tax Support helps people on low incomes by reducing the amount of Council Tax they have to pay.

Bath & North East Somerset Council, like every other council, had to put in place a Local Council Tax Support scheme to replace Council Tax Benefit from April 2013.

The Government specified that pensioners should see no changes to their entitlement under the local schemes, but gave Councils the discretion to implement rules applicable to people of working age.

A local scheme, which took into account a reduction in government funding, was implemented in Bath and North East Somerset in April 2013. The scheme currently provides financial support of around £5.2 million a year to working-age claimants. The scheme was further amended in April 2017 to introduce specific rules for people who receive Universal Credit, where a reduction would be based on a set percentage in liability depending on whether the applicant’s weekly income fell within a specified range.

Why are we consulting?

What changes are we proposing?

The council is proposing to introduce some minor changes with the aim of addressing certain inconsistencies and to make the rules of the scheme are fairer.  The proposed changes are as follows;

  • Where the applicant’s live in partner is in receipt of the Support component of Employment Support Allowance, a greater level of council tax support will be offered by the council.

  • The council will not seek to recover council tax support that has been paid in error by the council.  This will only relate to council tax support entitlement in respect of the period prior to the date the council discovers the error. This will only apply where the customer did not contribute to the mistake and did not know they were being overpaid.

  • Currently, when the claimant is in receipt of Universal Credit, the council is bound by the decision of the Department for Work and Pensions on the amount of savings the claimant possesses. The council is proposing a change which will allow the council to override that decision where it is aware that the claimant actually possesses more than £6000.

  • The council will give full relief to the additional premium for long term empty properties where the applicant is undertaking disabled adaptations and is in receipt of a Disabled Facilities Grant.

Who will be affected by these changes?

People who will be in receipt of Local Council Tax Support on or after 1st April 2020

How are we consulting?

The consultation will be open for a period of 6 weeks, from 22nd August 2019 to 3rd October 2019.

Who are we consulting?

All local residents, key stakeholders, partner organisations and parish & town councils will have the opportunity to respond and comment on the Council’s revised scheme.

What will happen to the results of the consultation?

The proposals will be presented to Full Council on 14th November 2019.  The results of the consultation will form part of the report to Council.

When will the changes come into effect?

If agreed, the proposed changes will take effect from April 2020.

The council may make further changes to the Local Council Tax Scheme in future years to address the changing needs of residents and financial pressures faced by the council.  Any changes to the scheme which are not made as a result of changes to statutory legislation shall be subject to a public consultation exercise.

Further information

Information is available in other languages, audio, Braille, large print or other formats. To request another format or a BSL interpreter contact the Benefits team on the number or email address above.

Glossary of Terms

  • Council Tax Support Scheme – a scheme to reduce the council tax which people have to pay where they are on a low income.

  • Employment Support Allowance – a benefit paid to people who are unable to work due to illness or disability.

  • Universal Credit – A benefit which is paid to cover living and housing costs

  • Disabled Facilities Grant – a council-administered grant which is available to help with adapting homes to meet the disablement needs of an applicant or a household member.  

What happens next: 

The proposals will be presented to Full Council on 14th November 2019.  The results of the consultation will form part of the report to Council.

If agreed, the proposed changes will take effect from April 2020.

The council may make further changes to the Local Council Tax Scheme in future years to address the changing needs of residents and financial pressures faced by the council.  Any changes to the scheme which are not made as a result of changes to statutory legislation shall be subject to a public consultation exercise.

Consultation Dates

Consultation Dates:
22/08/2019 - 16:30 to 03/10/2019 - 12:00
Status:
Open

Other Related Information

Areas Covered
All Areas

Contact Details

If you would like more information about what these proposals may mean for you or your family, please contact the Benefits team.

Tel: 01225 47 77 77 (option 4)

Email: benefits@bathnes.gov.uk (quoting ‘CTS consultation’ as the email subject)