Time running out for Council Tax consultation
Local residents have less than three weeks left to comment on a new draft Council Tax Support scheme for Torbay.
Currently some residents across the Bay qualify for Council Tax Benefit which means that a proportion, or in some cases 100 percent, of their council tax is paid.
From 1 April 2013 the Government is stopping Council Tax Benefit and has asked local authorities to create their own local scheme called Council Tax Support. At the same time the Government will also be reducing the amount of money paid to councils to support the system.
A consultation exercise was launched on Monday 6 August and will run until Monday 1 October. It’s a chance for all residents, especially current Council Tax Benefit customers, to comment on the new scheme Torbay has designed in a bid to spread the impact of the cuts as fairly as possible.
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So far, Torbay has received 305 responses from a mixture of people who currently claim Council Tax Benefit and residents who are able to pay their Council Tax in full. The council would like to see more responses from both groups before the consultation closes in about three weeks’ time.
The Government have stipulated that:
* Pensioners will see no change to the amount of help they currently receive as existing Council Tax Benefit rules will continue to apply.
* Any new scheme must encourage people to work and in particular should not make people feel less keen to get a job.
* The impact on the most vulnerable must be considered when designing new schemes.
Executive Lead for Finance and Audit, Cllr Alan Tyerman, said: "The changes taking effect next April, which includes less money coming to us from the Government to support the system, mean that councils will have to make some difficult decisions about who gets financial help and how much they will get.
"Whilst some groups within the community will be directly affected by the changes everyone needs to know what's happening.
"Along with councils across Devon we have developed a draft scheme and are keen to hear from all residents as to whether they think we have got our local scheme right."
The survey and supporting information is available at www.torbay.gov.uk/consultation. Those wishing to take part are advised to complete and return the survey by Monday 1 October.
Alternatively anyone wishing to have their say can email Torbay Council on email@example.com or telephone 01803 207201 and a questionnaire will be sent out in the post.