New council tax payers to pay at least 8.5% of bill
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government
Council tax 'frozen across Scotland'
Two local authorities in North Yorkshire have agreed to charge all working-age council tax benefit claimants a minimum of 8.5% of their bill from next April.
The move by Hambleton and Richmondshire district councils comes in the wake of the Government’s decision to scrap council tax benefit from April 2013 – which means the amount of funding available to councils is reduced, affecting the level of support claimants receive.
The measure has seen all local authorities consult on new schemes which are set to go live next April. Critics of the reform warn the cuts will see local authorities having to collect small amounts of money from low-income households, leading to fears the policy could replicate the unrest seen across the country when the Poll Tax came in under Margaret Thatcher.
Councillors from both the North Yorkshire authorities agreed to adopt the 'Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme' yesterday.
It will apply to claimants of working-age only. Pensioners remain fully protected from any changes and everyone in receipt of War Disablement Pension/War Widow’s Pension and Armed Forces Compensation remains fully protected, the councils said.
The main changes are:
· All working-age claimants will pay a minimum of 8.5% of their council tax charge
· All Second Adult Rebate cases will be removed
Councillors have also agreed to changes in the way second homes are charged and certain exemptions are awarded. It means that second homes will no longer receive a 10% discount; and - properties that become empty of furniture will only receive one month’s exemption followed by a 50% discount for five months. They will be charged at 100% after six months.
In addition, Richmondshire councillors also agreed to:
· Amend the exemption on properties that require or are undergoing major repair/structural alterations. The revised charge will be a 50% discount for 12 months
· Adopt a policy to allow a discount on properties that have suffered from flooding as a result of the weather.
All of the changes come into force on 1 April 2013.