Big changes to council tax benefit
By RachelEngland | Thursday, June 28, 2012, 13:45
The Government plans to abolish the national Council Tax Benefit scheme and has asked each Council across the country to implement their own programmes, which need to be in place by 1 April 2013.
Council tax benefit is changing in Kingston
The Government has also said that it will no longer fully fund the new scheme and plans to reduce the money it gives to councils by 10 percent. For the Royal Borough of Kingston this will result in a funding gap of just over £1 million.
Kingston Council has looked at various options for meeting the funding cut in a way that protects the most vulnerable residents, including disabled people, families with children and people on low incomes.
The Council is proposing to meet the funding shortfall by a number of measures. These are:
- For people of working age claiming Council Tax Benefit, the new scheme will increase the contributions to the Council Tax bill made by other adult members of the household who are in work.
- For people of working age claiming Council Tax Benefit, the proposed scheme will remove the second adult rebate.
- Removal of Council Tax discount for properties not occupied as a main home.
- Removal of Council Tax 6 month exemption for unoccupied and unfurnished properties.
- Removal of Council Tax exemption on empty properties undergoing repair.
- Removal of Council Tax exemption on properties having been re-possessed by the mortgagee.
- Removal of the discount on long term empty properties and charging an 'empty homes premium' of 50 percent on properties left empty for longer than two years.
Kingston Council is keen to reassure people that those currently receiving Council Tax Benefit who are also receiving disability related benefit will not be affected by the changes.
A report proposing a local Council Tax Support scheme, to replace Council Tax Benefit, will go the Council's Policy and Resources Committee on 28 June to be agreed for consultation.