Residents are urged to have their say on how Council Tax Benefit is calculated in future, after the government announced massive cuts in the amount councils receive to fund the scheme.
Bolsover, Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire District Councils have worked together to come up with a new system for calculating the benefit that would make up the government cuts – and during September and October residents are being consulted on the proposals.
The government changes mean that from April 2013 each council area would have a shortfall in the amount needed to maintain Council Tax benefits at current levels - £700,000 in Bolsover, £1.2m in Chesterfield and £700,000 in NE Derbyshire.
Bolsover District Council Leader Coun Eion Watts said: “These government reforms will have massive implications for some people who currently receive Council Tax benefit, so it is very important for residents to find out how they could be affected and have their say.”
Until now there has been a national system for calculating Council Tax Benefit but following the cuts it is up to each area to develop a system that accounts for the reduction in government support. Bolsover, Chesterfield and NE Derbyshire worked together to come up with a proposed system that is as fair as possible to those on low incomes - and protects people currently of pension age from a reduction – balanced with the need to make up the government funding cut.
Under the proposed system for the three council areas:
The amount of Council Tax Benefit received by working-age claimants would be reduced. The amount of reduction would depend on the person’s individual circumstances.
People currently of pensionable age would not be affected, so their Council Tax Benefit would not be reduced.
People can find out more and have their say by visiting their councils’ websites, by picking up a consultation leaflet from libraries and council buildings or by visiting an information session.
Phone 01246 242424 (8.00am to 5pm Monday to Friday) or email firstname.lastname@example.org