Following a nine-week consultation, Wealden District Council is recommending changes to its Council Tax Support Scheme for 2016/17.
The change will mean everyone of working age applying for Council Tax Support will have to make some contribution to their council tax.
Council tax is collected on all homes in the district and helps pay for social care, social housing, education, public health and police and fire services. Reductions in central government funding puts more pressure on council tax to contribute towards maintaining local public services.
Wealden’s Cabinet is recommending all working age applicants for Council Tax Support pay at least 20 per cent of their council tax liability. The average new weekly payment from those who currently receive the maximum support would be £4.56.
The recommendations also include changes to the capital limit so anyone with savings of more than £6,000 will not be eligible for the Council Tax Support Scheme. It also proposes any applicant who has been self-employed for at least 12 months will be assumed to be achieving a minimum level of income equivalent to National Living Wage.
“I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation. Their contribution has helped guide our decisions,” said Councillor Graham Wells, Cabinet member with responsibility for Benefits.
“Recent studies show three out of every four Council Tax Support Schemes operating in England now require applicants to make a minimum payment towards council tax.
“I think it is right that everyone of working age should make some contribution to the public services in their community. We will be setting up an Exceptional Hardship Fund to help in the most extreme cases which, if approved, will come into effect from April 2016.”
There are currently 3,809 residents of working age receiving support from the Council Tax Reduction Scheme. The proposals will mean £1.42 million can be spent by East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire and Rescue and Wealden District Council on other public services. Similar changes are proposed for other districts in East Sussex.
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