Tuesday 21 August 2012
Please note: The consultation has now finished, entries will no longer be taken.
Swale Borough Council faces a cut of £1.2 million a year in the funding it receives from the Government for council tax relief.
The changes, part of the Government 's Welfare Reform Bill, put a duty on councils to develop a local scheme suitable for their area.
At present, the Government decides who is eligible for council tax relief and how much they can get but councils will have to introduce local schemes of council tax support from April 2013. The government says it will be fairer, save taxpayers £480 million and give councils a greater stake in their local economies.
Residents may wish to comment on Swale Borough Council 's new local council tax support scheme, especially those working age people who claim council tax benefits who will be most affected by Swale 's proposed new local council tax support scheme. The scheme could also affect second home owners and owners of empty properties.
Pensioners who claim council tax benefits will not be affected because the Government has decided that they must be protected from any reductions in the benefit.
In order to make up the reduction in government financial support the council is proposing to require council tax benefit claimants to pay some of the council tax themselves. The council believes the fairest way to make the savings is to reduce the amount awarded for everyone who receives help, except pensioners. It wants comments on two options:
The council is also asking for suggestions for other changes to the system and is making it easy for local people to have their say.
Cabinet Member for Finance, Duncan Dewar-Whalley, says: "People can take part in the consultation by replying to our letters and emails, attending meetings or completing an online consultation form on our website."
There will be no change to the 25% single person discount that every council tax payer can claim if they are the sole adult living at an address.
Visit our Council Tax Benefit changes page (no longer available) to take part in the consultation, which runs for ten weeks until 7 October. If you would like further information about our consultation please visit one of our road shows:
Swale House, Sittingbourne, Tuesday 28 August from 9.30am - 12.30pm and Wednesday 5 September from 1pm - 4pm
The Amicus Horizon offices, Stone Street, Faversham, Thursday 30 August 1.30pm - 4.30pm
The Sheerness Gateway, Friday 31 August 1pm - 4 pm.
Or call Council Tax Benefits on 01795 417555.