Council to assess possible changes to tax reduction scheme

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Wealden District Council, alongside neighbouring East Sussex authorities, will be consulting about options to change the current Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

The scheme helps low-income households of working age to pay their council tax.

The consultation, which began on Thursday, July 16 and will last for nine weeks, is for everyone to take part in – those who claim Council Tax Reduction as well as other residents of the district - as council resources used to fund the scheme may have to be diverted from other expenditure in the face of continuing reduction in Central Government support.

As the cost of implementing the current Council Tax Reduction Scheme affects the County Council, Police Authority and the Fire and Rescue Service, discussions have involved these authorities, too.

Councillor Graham Wells, Cabinet Member with responsibility for benefits, said: “Since 2013, a proportion of the amount of support given to working age households who might otherwise struggle to pay their Council Tax in Wealden has been met by local authorities, including the county council.

“In 2015/16 this will amount to some £9.1million. It is important the changes we make are fair to all residents of the district. We also would like to see changes that incentivise work. I hope as many people as possible take part in this consultation. We will then be in a better position to make a decision later this year.”

The Council Tax Reduction Scheme consultation can be completed on-line through the Wealden website at www.wealden.gov.uk.

Computers are available at the Council’s Customer Help Points at Crowborough and Hailsham and at local libraries in Forest Row, Uckfield, Crowborough, Wadhurst, Mayfield, Hailsham, Polegate, Willingdon and Pevensey Bay.

Paper copies are available to those without access to the internet. Call 01323 443322 or visit the council’s Hailsham offices for a copy.

In 2013, Wealden District Council withdrew or reduced other council tax discounts to help fund the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

Any changes will be introduced in 2016/2017 tax year.

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