Full council tax relief to be axed in bid to save £1m
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Finance, Local Government
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Low-income households in Exeter who were previously exempt from paying council tax will have to pay something towards their bill from next April, as the local authority looks to plug a £1million gap in Government support.
The Government is abolishing the current system of council tax support and is devolving the benefit to councils from next April and cutting the funds by 10%. Critics point out that cuts will be pushed onto low-income working age claimants as local authorities have been told to protect pensioners from any cuts.
The cut in Government funding means Exeter City Council will need to save over £1million in the first year alone.
It says everyone, apart from pensioners (who are protected by law), will have to pay something towards their council tax bill, with few exceptions. Exeter currently sets the fifth lowest district council tax in the country.
Under Exeter City Council's proposed local scheme, which will go before its Executive on 20 November, the highest level of support will be 80%.
Cllr Ian Martin, lead councillor for business transformation and human resources, said: "People need to be clear that these changes have been forced upon the Council because of a large reduction in government grant.
"We always knew that we would have to make some difficult decisions about who gets financial support and how much they get and that is why we recently consulted the public on the impact of these changes. Consultation was thorough and resulted in some 1,400 responses from the public."
The City Council has drawn up a number of measures to help mitigate any problems arising from the changes to council tax benefit and the wider reaching implications of welfare reform.