RESIDENTS are being urged to have their say over council tax support reforms.
Since 2013, local authorities have had the freedom to set their own level of support for those of working age who receive the benefit and Rotherham Borough Council’s scheme has £10 million of provision.
The maximum discount which can be provided in Rotherham is 91.5 per cent of Council Tax for working age households and 100 per cent for pensioner households.
Now residents in Rotherham are being asked for their views on current scheme, as the council considers its budget options and the possibility of spending money in other areas.
The council’s Cabinet member for finance, Cllr Saghir Alam (pictured), said: “Keeping the support we currently give is just not sustainable in the long term given the current financial climate.
“The Council has to reduce its budget by £42 million by 2020 and this is on top of previous budget cuts.
“We have no choice but to look at everything we fund and see if there are any savings we can make.
“Any changes to council tax support will reduce budget pressures on other council services and this could make a real difference in some areas, which is why it is really important we hear people’s views before we come to any decisions.”
Since April 2013, when Council Tax Benefit was abolished, the way the council helped people on low income to pay council tax changed.
It introduced its own Council Tax Support Scheme, which works as a council tax discount, with the level of discount based on the household income and circumstances.
Now, the funding the Council now receives for Council Tax Support is no longer based on the amount of support awarded but is part of the general resources received by the council, which has been cut in recent years.
Options being considered under the consultation include reducing the amount of support offered to working age claimants, cutting help for households where there are other working age adults living with the bill payer, or reducing more quickly the amount of support as the bill payer’s income increases
The scheme for pension age residents is set by Central Government and will not be affected.
Any new schemes will start on next April.
Consultation on the current arrangements will run until Monday, November 20.
Visit https://www.rotherham.gov.uk/consultations to give your views.