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Council Tax Reduction Scheme proposals approved to help those who need it most

At a meeting of Full Council last month, North Herts Council approved changes to its Council Tax Reduction scheme, following a full review and consultation with residents in September 2022.

A new banded scheme for working age applicants will come in to force from 01 April 2023 and will provide 100% Council Tax Relief to the lowest income households across the district.

In terms of the impact of the new scheme, over 80% of residents who are currently receiving council tax reduction will either see an increase in the reduction they receive to their bill or will receive the same reduction. 18% of residents will receive a smaller reduction or will no longer be eligible if their income is too high.

The headline results from the consultation revealed that:

  • 68% of residents said that they supported the introduction of an Income Grid scheme to replace the current scheme for all applicants of working age
  • 90% agreed that any new claim or change in circumstances which changes Council Tax Reduction entitlement will be made from the date on which the change occurs, (rather than on a weekly basis as at present)
  • 88% agreed with the proposal to protect disabled persons by disregarding Personal Independence Payments or Disability Living Allowance and providing a further disregard of £50 per week where the applicant, partner or dependant is in receipt of the disability benefit.

The new simplified support scheme will make it easier for customers to calculate their entitlement, which goes towards helping the council meet its People First priority. The scheme will also reduce the administration involved, therefore making it quicker to process claims and reducing costs for the council.

Under the proposals, a single person with an income up to £100 per week, or a couple with two children on a weekly income below £260, will be entitled to the full 100% council tax relief. However, some families with an income below £515 a week will still be eligible for some support. The scheme for pension age residents is set by Government and will continue to remain unchanged.

The council will write to anyone who is likely to see a reduction in entitlement and will signpost to a discretionary scheme to provide additional support where appropriate.

Cllr Ian Albert, Executive Member for Finance and IT at North Herts Council said: “Thanks to everyone who took the time to give us their views. 

“These are difficult times for our residents through the current cost of living crisis.

“I am delighted that this new scheme has been approved which will enable the Council to give more help to the people who need it most; as well as making it easier for people to calculate their entitlement and for the council to process claims more quickly.”

At the Full Council meeting, Council also approved the use of the Council Tax Hardship Grant to fund a discretionary scheme to provide additional support where appropriate.

Note to editors

To view the council report and results from the consultation, visit: Council Tax Reduction Scheme consultation

To view the council's Cost of Living web pages, visit: Help with the cost of living

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