May 20 2013 Latest news:
by Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Thursday, September 20, 2012
More than 18,000 Redbridge residents could lose some council tax support under the new scheme being considered by the council.
The current council tax benefit, which aims to help people on low incomes with payments, is being scrapped by the government in April, passing the responsibility of helping low earners to local authorities.
Redbridge Council has recommended one of four possible schemes to take its place.
The chosen scheme would save £1.6million. The council may have to increase council tax in some bands to raise a further £700,000.
The support would be calculated on a smaller proportion of the charge and the largest property it could be calculated on would be Band D.
Larger deductions in support would also be made for non-dependant people living in households and the second adult rebate would be removed.
People with more than £10,000 savings, rather than the current £16,000, would be unable to claim support and anyone due less than £2 a week in benefit would have it cut completely (see table for full breakdown).
People aged 60 or over will not be affected and an annual hardship fund of £200,000 is being set up to help people in need.
Deputy council leader Cllr Ian Bond said the plans reflected the “mix of views” from the public consultation.
He added: “The level of contribution we are seeking is lower than many councils.
“It’s a balancing act, which reflects the fact that the cost of benefits does need to be reduced.
“But the difficulty of the changes is we don’t know what effect it’s going to have.”
A sample of people who do and do not receive council tax benefit was selected for the consultation.
The cabinet’s preferred scheme was chosen by only 16 per cent of respondents.
More than half of people not on council tax benefit chose a plan that further cut levels of support and led to no possible increase in payments.
The people receiving the benefit preferred keeping benefits the same and increasing council tax.
The scheme will be considered in a meeting of the full council on November 16.