Local Support for Council Tax Scheme 2021/22

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Background

Each year the Council has to decide whether to change their Local Support for Council Tax Scheme for working age applicants in its area. This year, the Council has decided that changes should be made to assist in the administration of the scheme given the large number of Universal Credit claimants and the constant changes to customers' Local Support for Council Tax entitlement.

What is Local Support for Council Tax?

Local Support for Council Tax is a discount on your Council Tax. The level of discount is based on the income of the household. Currently the maximum discount is 87.5% of Council Tax for working age households and 100% for pensioners.

Why is a change to the Local Support for Council Tax Scheme being considered?

The large increase in Universal Credit claims due to the COVID-19 crisis has meant that the Council now receives a large amount of information from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). This can, in most cases, lead to multiple changes in Local Support for Council Tax entitlement which in turn leads to constant changes in Council Tax liability and instalments for all applicants. This is causing confusion for applicants, changes in Council Tax liability and a significant increase in the administration that has to be undertaken by the Council. 

In addition, the Council wants to make other changes which will make the scheme more straightforward, and reduce the administrative cost of the scheme.
 

Who will this affect?

Working age households in the Borough Council's area who currently receive or will apply for Local Support for Council Tax.

Pension age households will not be affected as Central Government prescribe the scheme.

Are there any alternatives to changing the existing Local Support for Council Tax Scheme?

We have also thought about other ways to make the administration simpler. These have not been completely rejected (including maintaining the current scheme) and you are asked about them in the Questionnaire, but, at the moment, we do not think we should implement them for the reasons given we have considered:

  • Continuing with the current scheme
    This would mean higher administration costs and scheme costs generally. The current scheme will not work effectively with the Government’s Universal Credit system. The multiple changes in Universal Credit inevitably leads to multiple changes in Local Support for Council Tax. This would increase the costs for all Council Tax payers in the area paying towards the scheme.  The decision to increase Council Tax may need to be made by voting in a local referendum; or
     
  • Reduce funding to other Council services to pay for additional administration costs
    Keeping the current Local Support for Council Tax Scheme will mean an increase in administration costs and less money available to deliver other Council services.

Details

When is the consultation taking place?
Start: 25th September 2020   End: 1st November 2020
Which audience or groups are being consulted?
 
 
 
 
  • Residents

  • Stakeholders

 
How are we consulting?
  • On-line questionnaire
 
Area covered by the consultation?
  • Whole Borough

Contact

Name:

Guy Shrimpton, Benefits Manager

Address:

Town Hall, St Nicholas Street, Scarborough, YO11 2HG

Telephone:

01723 232372

Email:

guy.shrimpton@scarborough.gov.uk

How will the results be used?

The results will be used to help us make the final decision on the scheme.

Outcomes of the consultation

Findings of the survey will be posted here once the results have been analysed.