Local Council Tax Support Scheme Consultation
This consultation opens on 9th August 2019 and closes on 20th September 2019
In 2013 the government changed the way in which assistance is provided to council taxpayers on low incomes to provide financial assistance to pay their Council Tax.
This change meant councils had to develop a local scheme to support low income working age households and had less funding to do so.
The locally-agreed changes we are consulting upon generally only affect people of working age. The Local Council Tax Support rules for people of pension age are set by the government.
The scheme we introduced in April 2013 mirrored the previous support provided by Council Tax Benefit offering up to 100% support for households with the lowest income. The funding provided to local councils by the government to support the scheme has reduced each year.
The council are facing a range of financial pressures and are considering making a number of changes which will make the scheme more efficient to administer and reduce the cost of the scheme. The scheme supports 8,194 local households, 5,293 of these are working age and 2,901 are of pension age. The scheme costs £6.5m annually.
Why is a change to the Local Council Tax Support Scheme being considered?
Our current scheme is complex and difficult for customers to understand. We have to work out LCTS to the penny, so even small changes in someone’s income may mean a recalculation and slight adjustment to the support we can provide.
If you pay your council tax on a monthly basis, then constant changes to your payment plan may increase the difficulties for you of budgeting on a fixed income.
In addition, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has introduced Universal Credit which is replacing other means-tested benefits for working age households on a low income.
Because the amount of Universal Credit customers may receive is reviewed each month by the DWP, this can affect the income total we use to work out your LCTS. It means the number of changes we must make to your LCTS is increasing, and as a result the scheme is becoming more costly to run.
Also, the traditional link between the Housing Benefit (which will no longer be available to new working age claimants) and LCTS will not exist anymore and it is essential the scheme is changed to assist those affected. It is hoped this can be simplified for those in receipt and to help them with budgeting.
As government funding continues to decrease, we also need to strike a balance between a revised scheme that is fair and affordable for those who receive support, and also for all our residents who receive council services. However, we remain committed to providing support to our residents with low incomes.
The options for consideration
We are putting forward the following options for consultation.
- Proposal 1 – Introduction of a minimum payment of Council Tax
- Proposal 2 – Introduction of a minimum income change value
- Proposal 3 – Changes to the treatment of Universal Credit awards in the assessment of Council Tax Support
- Proposal 4 – Changes to the treatment of non-liable resident adults
- Proposal 5 – Revise the level of non-dependant deductions
- Proposal 6 – Withdraw Second Adult Rebate from the scheme
- Proposal 7 – Withdraw Extended Payment Periods from the scheme
Are there any alternatives to changing the existing Local Council Tax Support Scheme?
We have also looked at alternatives to the options under consideration and refer to these in the course of the document, however, in summary the alternatives are as below:
- Alternative 1 – Keeping the scheme the same which will not allow the council to make savings and will incur additional administrative costs as Universal Credit continues to roll out
- Alternative 2 – Introducing a minimum entitlement level which would reduce the level of entitlement for household currently receiving the lowest amounts of support
- Alternative 3 – Increasing the level of Council Tax to take in to account the current costs of the scheme against the levels of reduced government funding
- Alternative 4 – Maintaining the current scheme and reduce the funding available for other council services
Having your say
The consultation is a questionnaire which seeks your views and suggestions to help us design the scheme for 2020/21.
We would like the consultation to be as wide as possible and invite responses from all interested parties, including LCTS claimants and potential claimants, council taxpayers, other residents, businesses, town and parish councils, the voluntary sector and advocates and representative groups.
We will also be consulting with the police and crime commissioner who is a statutory consultee and with other support agencies about the proposed options.
This is an online questionnaire. To provide your response, please visit:
Printed versions of the questionnaire are available, download a copy here on contact us on 01452 396014 or by emailing or writing to the addresses below.
Once completed the printed questionnaire can be returned to either:
Emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted to: CTS Consultation
Client Officer (Revenues & Benefits)
Gloucester City Council
PO Box 3252
Matson and Podsmead Estate Regeneration Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) Consultation
Documents have been prepared outlining guidance for developments in the Matson and Podsmead Estates. The guidance sets out the principles that any future planning applications must abide by. For more information please read the full guidance which can be found here. The area covered by the document is the whole of the Podsmead and Matson Estates, including homes owned by Housing Associations and homes that are owned or rented privately. The consultation runs from 6pm Monday 24th June until 6pm Monday 5th August.
Residents are being invited to give their views on one of the most important decisions for the future of the city.
The Council is asking residents to fill in a survey, which lets the council know what residents feel should be prioritised when investing in services like waste collections, street cleaning, housing and parks.
Currently the council has started the process of setting the budget for 2019/2020, which will be approved in February next year.
This follows the introduction of ‘Together Gloucester’, an ongoing programme that will change how the organisation operates and works with residents.
Not only will it transform how the council delivers services it will also make more than £1m in savings.
In 2018/19 the Council has had to deliver savings of £200k with further savings required in 2020/21.
And in future years it must still look to make more savings to ensure residents get the services they need and balance the budget.
This is due to greater demand for council services, combined with price rises, less money coming from government and inflation, meaning that overall running costs will increase.
So it’s even more important that residents have their say on which services they consider to be a priority.
Take part in our consultation here
The consultation has ended.