Local people are being urged to take part in a consultation on major changes to Council Tax and Council Tax Benefit.
The government has announced that from 1 April 2013 they will be abolishing Council Tax benefit in its current form. Instead, all councils will need to create and run a local Council Tax support scheme.
There will be less funding from the government under the new scheme, which means that Thanet District Council will have to work within a budget that has been reduced by approximately £2.2 million.
The government has also announced that from April 2013 councils can change discounts and exemptions given for Council Tax. These changes mainly affect empty properties and ‘second homes’.
Thanet District Council is now consulting on a proposed local Council Tax support scheme. This scheme aims to reduce the impact on benefit customers by removing some Council Tax discounts and exemptions.
The main proposals are to:
There will also be no change to the Council Tax exemption for properties undergoing major structural repair.
Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Clive Hart, said: “It’s essential that local people are aware of the changes to Council Tax and Council Tax benefit.
“At Thanet we’re facing a reduction of over £2 million from central government to fund Council Tax benefit. This means we’ve had to make some really difficult decisions about who gets financial support, and how much, in order to continue providing this benefit to those on low incomes.
“Working together with the East Kent Councils, we’re proposing a scheme that reduces the impact on benefit customers by removing some Council Tax discounts and exemptions as well as cutting benefit awards. This will help to reduce the overall financial impact on benefit reductions to working age people, however working age Council Tax benefit claimants will still have to pay more Council Tax than they have before.
“Whether you’re in receipt of Council Tax benefit, or own a second or empty property, I would urge you to take part in this consultation and ensure you have your say.”
To view a copy of the full proposed scheme, and to take part in the consultation, please visit www.thanet.gov.uk/counciltaxchanges
To request a paper copy of the scheme and survey, call the central information line on 01227 862310. You can also collect paper copies from Thanet’s Gateway Plus in Cecil Street Margate, Ramsgate District Office in York Street or by visiting any Thanet library.
The consultation closes on Monday 17 September 2012.