Hounslow Council Wants Views On Benefits Changes

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Hounslow Council is asking for people’s views on changes to support for people on benefits.

Following the abolition of the Council Tax Benefit by the Government, the council will be introducing a replacement scheme called Council Tax Support from April 2013.

The Government funding for this replacement scheme is 10 per cent lower than previously, and pensioners’ benefits must be protected.

This means all working age people on benefit will have to pay some council tax even if they have paid none in the current system.

From July to October the council consulted on the details of the proposed new scheme, which would have seen working-age people eligible for benefits paying an extra 10-15 per cent.

The Government have since given the council a grant of just over £400,000 to reduce the impact of the transition, so the council is proposing an amended scheme which would limit rises to no more than 8.5% in the first year.

Cllr Ruth Cadbury, cabinet member for planning and regeneration, said: “The Government’s scrapping of the council tax benefit scheme meant our original proposals would have cost more than 15,000 people in the borough on low incomes around £150 a year.

“The new proposals do go some way towards lessening that impact for the first year, so that the cost to those on maximum benefit will be around £70 per year.  We want to hear people’s views about this.

“If we ran the new scheme to the same levels as under the old Council Tax Benefit, we would have to cut other services to help us pay for it, or increase council tax, neither of which we are prepared to do.

“So reluctantly we have to pass some of the cost along to those receiving the benefit, who are already struggling to make ends meet.”

The Council originally carried out a consultation on the removal of council tax benefit by the Government.  The consultation ran from July to October.

The consultation on the new proposals runs from 12 -23 November, and people can respond by visiting www.hounslow.gov.uk/counciltaxsupport.


November 12, 2012