Council seeks views on council tax support
North Somerset Council is keen to hear residents’ views on options to change the concessions of its council tax support scheme. The proposed options could result in larger maximum discounts for qualifying people of working age.
The current scheme allows maximum discounts of up to 72.5 per cent of the bill for working age residents, but the council is now consulting on possible higher discounts or no changes to the scheme. The first option is to increase the discount to a maximum of 75.5 per cent discount from April 2020. The second option would see the same level of maximum discount phased in over three years, increasing by one per cent each year up to 75.5 per cent in 2022/23. The third option would be to leave the scheme unchanged.
Currently a working age resident qualifying for a maximum discount in a Band C property would have to pay £423.11 towards their council tax. With an increase in the maximum discount to 75.5 per cent they would have to pay £376.96 (based on 19/20 figures), a further £46.15 discount a year bringing the total discount to £1,161.65.
The overall cost to the council of implementing the first or second option is estimated to be in the region of £240,000 a year.
Qualifying residents of pensionable age can already obtain discounts of up to 100 per cent, as prescribed by central government, so there are no changes proposed for older people.
Cllr Ash Cartman, Executive Member for Finance at North Somerset Council said: “A decade of austerity has made life especially tough for our residents on the lowest incomes, and this administration is keen to reduce the inequalities that exist locally between the most and least deprived people in our communities.
“We are keen to hear what local people think about the potential for us to ease the council tax bill pressure for our residents on low incomes.”
The consultation will run from Monday 4 to Friday 29 November, and the results will be taken into account in making the decision on which option to progress into the council’s medium term financial plan. It can be accessed online at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/cts2020 or residents can email questions and comments to: NSC.ClientTeam@n-somerset.gov.uk.