Published 20 September 2012
Local people have until Wednesday 3 October to give their view on proposed changes to the way Council Tax Benefit is paid in Ealing.
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. Any changes must not affect pensioners, should protect the most vulnerable and encourage claimants who are unemployed into work.
The council is now consulting on how best to manage this funding cut and is proposing a number of changes, including requiring 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: The government is making big changes to Council Tax Benefit and, from next April, there will be less money available to help people on low incomes to 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.
These changes are likely to affect a lot of local people and that is why we want to hear from as many Ealing residents as possible- particularly those who will be directly affected.
People can give their views on the proposed scheme by going to our consultations section or by ordering a paper copy by calling 020 8825 7000 and choosing option five.