DISTRICT residents are being encouraged to have their say about council tax.
Stratford District Council is responsible for its own council tax reduction scheme, which provides funding for those who are unable to pay their council tax.
Until recently, the scheme had largely stayed the same with no changes for current claimants, protection for households on the lowest incomes and the provision of additional support for war pensioners.
But the Government has announced it intends to reduce its welfare support budgets in the coming years, meaning there will be less funding available to cover the cost of reductions for the district council.
As a result, the authority has agreed to undergo an informal consultation exercise looking at possible changes. These include:
· reducing the maximum level of support for working age applicants from 100 per cent to 80 per cent
· removing family premium for all working age applicants
· reducing the period a person can be absent from the country and still receive council tax reduction to four weeks
· removing the work-related activity component in the calculation for new employment and support allowance applicants
· limiting the number of dependant children within the calculation to a maximum of two
· removing entitlement to the severe disability premium where another person is paid universal credit to look after them
The consultation ends on October 12 and the results will go to a meeting in November before the final details are discussed and debated by councillors in December.
District council enterprise spokesman, Dave Riches, said: “We have a statutory obligation to ask people’s views on the scheme and I would encourage people to take this opportunity to review our proposals and let us know what they think.
“Our aim with these options is to align the scheme with the current Housing Benefit Scheme and once the consultation closes, we will consider the responses before finalising the scheme ready for April 2017.”
All claimants under 65 will receive a questionnaire in the post, which should be completed by September 30.
Visit www.stratford.gov.uk and follow the links to complete the online survey.