Changes from April 2015
Due to ongoing reductions in government funding, EEBC will be reducing the level of Support payable to working age residents from 1 April 2015.
From April 2015, all working age households will be asked to pay the first 20% of their Council Tax (called a “Minimum Payment”); their entitlement to Council Tax Support will be calculated on the remaining 80% of their Council Tax charge.
If you (or your partner) have reached state pension age, you will not be affected by this change; only working age households will be affected.
If your Council Tax Support is currently affected by the Band Restriction, where the maximum band used in our calculation is restricted to that of a Band D property, from April 2015 this restriction will be removed, with the 20% Minimum Payment replacing it.
If you were previously refused Council Tax Support on the basis that your entitlement was below the minimum of £5 per week, you may qualify from April 2015, as this feature has also been removed.
If you have been affected by any of the other features of our scheme, such as the removal of Second Adult Rebate, the reduction in the maximum capital threshold or the three month limit on backdated Support, these features will remain in place.
Although we cannot yet tell you how much you will need to pay from April 2015, we can make an estimate based on the current levels of Council Tax. Below is a table showing how much you might expect to pay if the 20% Minimum Payment had been introduced this year:
||Estimated Payment (Single Person)|
Please note that this is not saying that this will be how much you will have to pay from April 2015; this is only an estimate of how much extra you might have to pay based on current levels. We will write to you in March 2015 to inform you of your actual payments.
The quickest and most convenient way to pay your Council Tax is by Direct Debit, where your monthly instalment will be deducted automatically from your bank account. The whole scheme is protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee, is safe and secure for both you and your bank and saves you having to contact us each month to pay your charge.
Don’t forget that if you pay on the first of the month you can also have your charge split over 12 monthly instalments rather than the normal 10.
If you wish to discuss Direct Debit please contact the Council Tax Team on 01372 732558.
This reduction in Support was made following extensive consultation. You can see the results of our consultation here Council Tax Support Consultation Report 2014 (pdf 3MB)
You can find a draft of our April 2015 scheme here Draft Scheme 2015 (pdf 1.5MB)
Council Tax Support
The Government abolished Council Tax Benefit on 1 April 2013 and tasked councils with developing their own local schemes but with reduced funding.
Councillors had to make some very tough decisions - taking into account government guidelines, a desire to adversely affect as few people as possible, giving considerations to residents with differing circumstances and managing the drop in funding from central government.
Introducing a local scheme that maintained the awards made under the Council Tax Benefit scheme would have cost residents over 1/2 million pounds. Therefore, whilst recognising that reductions in support would affect some residents on low incomes, a local Council Tax Support scheme was devised that incorporates the majority of aspects within Council Tax Benefit, but has five main changes.
This means some residents are now receiving reduced assistance with their Council Tax.
Those not affected
Pensioners are protected from these changes. They will receive Council Tax Support under a national scheme calculated along the same lines as Council Tax Benefit.
The five main differences between Council Tax Benefit and Council Tax Support mean that approximately a quarter of working age customers will face a reduction in the amount of financial assistance they receive. These changes are listed below.
What are the differences within the localised scheme?
Our Council Tax Support scheme is largely based upon Council Tax Benefit which includes some in-built protections for people with different needs. The five main elements of the scheme that are changing are:
- The Second Adult Rebate scheme ceased - support can no longer be claimed for others in the household on low income
- The current Capital 'cut-off' limit of £16,000 reduced - no award will be made where the customer has more than £10,000
- The Maximum Award for support is restricted to Council Tax property Band D - this reduces support for those in Band E, F, G & H
- A Minimum Award will be introduced - where awards of less than £5 per week are not made
- The maximum period for 'backdating' support has been reduced from 6 to 3 months in cases where a customer does not claim support at the right time.
How do I claim Council Tax Support?
Claims can only be made by a person who is liable to pay the Council Tax.
Please follow the link to Making a claim.
Please follow this link for a list of relevant Frequently Asked Questions.
Please follow this link to see our Council Tax Support feature (pdf - 133kb) included in the Winter 2013 edition of Borough Insight.
Please follow this link to see the results of our Council Tax Support Consultation (pdf - 792kb).
Please follow this link for our local scheme regulations EEBC Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2014 (pdf - 1.9mb).
Please follow this link for information relating to other Welfare Reform Changes.
The Department for Communities and Local Government have produced a number of relevant documents including 'Localising Support for Council Tax - A Statement of Intent (pdf - 326kb)'.