Views sought on Council Tax Support scheme
- Council tax and benefits
Barnet Council has launched a public consultation in relation to its Council Tax Support scheme. The consultation began on Thursday, 18 October and will run until Thursday, 29 November.
Council Tax Support is the council’s discount scheme that helps people on low-incomes pay their Council Tax. Barnet Council is considering moving to a new, simplified scheme for working age claimants and would like to hear all residents’ views. Pension age claimants will be unaffected by the changes to the scheme.
Between 2019 and 2024, the council faces a budget gap of £69 million. This means the council will need to change the way it operates to enable it deliver within its means.
With the financial challenges, and the introduction of Universal Credit, the existing Council Tax Support scheme is no longer fit for purpose. For example, keeping the current scheme as it is will mean any modest changes to a claimant's income under Universal Credit will result in frequent changes to the level of Council Tax Support they receive. This will result in uncertainty for claimants and additional costs to the council in administration.
The Leader of Barnet Council, Councillor Richard Cornelius, said: “The existing Council Tax Support Scheme is no longer fit for purpose. The scheme in Barnet – like many other localised council tax support schemes - is not compatible with the Government’s new Universal Credit programme.
“The council is facing some tough financial decisions over the next five years and this means we will have less money to spend on services. We must ensure we do everything possible to protect our most vulnerable residents – especially at a time when there will be less money.”
Residents can submit their views on the consultation through the online questionnaire on Engage Barnet. Alternative formats of the consultation are available on request.
Letters will be sent to all residents in receipt of Council Tax Support. A number of public drop-in sessions are also being organised. These events will be publicised shortly on Engage Barnet.