Published 9 August 2012
Residents have been invited to give their views on proposed changes to the way council tax benefit is paid in Ealing as part of a major public consultation.
Council Tax Benefit, which helps people on low incomes with their council tax bill, is a central government scheme. From 1 April 2013, responsibility for running it will be transferred to local councils and it will be called Council Tax Support.
At the same time, the government is cutting the amount of money it gives councils to help people with their council tax by 10%. This cut will total around £3.5million in Ealing in the first year alone so there is likely to be less money available to help all of the people who currently receive Council Tax Benefit.
The government has told councils that they can set up new local Council Tax Support schemes in response to this reduction in funding, but that any changes must not affect pensioners, should protect the most vulnerable and encourage people to work.
Under Ealings draft scheme, the council is managing this funding cut by making a number of changes, including proposing that most working age claimants pay more than they do currently, unless they fall into one of the protected categories.
Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for Finance and Performance, said: From next April, there will be less money available from government to help people on low incomes pay their council tax. This means that we must look carefully at how this smaller pot of money can be shared out as fairly as possible while protecting the most vulnerable people.
This public consultation is an opportunity for residents to help shape the final scheme and we want to hear from as many people as possible - particularly those who will be directly affected.
People have until 3 October 2012 to give their views on the proposed scheme. The questionnaire can either be completed online or a paper copy can be ordered by calling 020 8825 7000 and choosing option five.