Warning on Council Tax change
NEW rules which will see local councils set the level of council tax support will be a "huge blow" to low-income families, says the city's finance chief.
There are just two weeks left for people to comment on a new draft Council Tax Support scheme for Plymouth as consultation draws to a close on October 1.
Every council in England and Wales has been told that from April 1 next year the Government will no longer decide who is entitled to receive money to help them pay their council tax bills, or how much they can claim.
Instead councils across the country will need to introduce their own local schemes and make these decisions.
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Councillor Mark Lowry, cabinet member for finance said: "These changes are approaching us fast and will have a huge blow on the finances of the people with the lowest incomes. There is still time for people to let us know their views before any decisions are finalised. It really can help influence the finer details."
A council spokesman said the Government was also cutting £2.6million from the funding provided for the people of Plymouth.
The Council Tax Support scheme changes are expected to affect working age people and means around 16,000 households could see a reduction of up to £249 of their Council Tax Benefit next year.
The consultation on the proposed new scheme was launched on August 6 and so far almost 1,200 views have been given. Closing on Monday, October 1, the consultation provides an opportunity for all residents to comment on the new scheme Plymouth has proposed in a bid to spread the impact of the cuts as fairly as possible. The Government has told councils that the new scheme must ensure pensioners are not affected, must encourage people to work, and that consideration must be given to the impact on the most vulnerable groups of people.
All residents can complete the consultation by going to www.plymouth.gov.uk/ctsupport or by visiting their local library.