The Isle of Wight Council has been asking people to share their views on the future of the Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) Scheme. This consultation has now closed and details will go to full council in January 2021.
Who will be affected by changes to the scheme
Changes to the scheme will only affect working age claimants who currently receive LCTS or who may apply in the future, to provide support for people on certain benefits and low incomes.
Please note: the LCTS scheme for Pension Age claimants is set by Government who state we must fully protect pensioners under the same rules that applied to Council Tax Benefit. This means we have no discretion in the help we give people over pension age, the rules for this group are set nationally.
The proposed changes
The consultation considers six possible changes that could be made to the scheme from April 2021, and we would encourage you to give us your feedback on the six possible changes, you can do this by taking part in the consultation.
Our current LCTS scheme is based on an income grid, details of which can be found on our web page Local Council Tax Support - Am I Entitled.
The changes for consideration in this consultation are:
- Reduce the maximum level of support from 70 per cent to either 65 per cent or 60 per cent.
- Remove the current blanket protection of claimants in receipt of a disability benefit, and give a potential income disregard of £50 per week.
- Remove the Carers Allowance disregard.
- Reduce the earnings disregard to £20 or £15 per week.
- Increase the Non-dependant Deduction rate to £4, £5 or £7.50 per week.
- Disregard the Housing Element of Universal Credit as income.
More detail and information on these proposals and how they may affect individual working age claimants can be found in the consultation document. The consultation document must be read before completing the survey.
How we will include your feedback
Once this consultation has closed, we will review your feedback to help shape the consultation recommendations, which will be considered by the Full Council in January 2020 with a view to bringing in changes from April 2021.
Further Information about Local Council Tax Support
Exceptional Hardship Policy 2021/2022
Local Council Tax Support draft 13a Scheme 2021/2022
Equality Impact Assessment Council Tax Support First Stage 2021/22
Reason for the consultation
Since 2013, the way that LCTS is applied has been localised so individual councils can create an approach that works best for their local area.
The LCTS scheme was implemented to replace the Council Tax Benefit scheme by the Department for Work and Pensions in 2013. Although Government initially provided funding to local councils for the scheme, the funding has reduced each year in line with the reduction in the Revenue Support Grant provided to councils.
Decisions about changes to the scheme need to be considered alongside the wider challenges being faced by local authorities and we 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.