Council tax benefits in Redbridge facing shake-up to plug �2.3m shortfall

Four potential schemes to replace council tax benefits were submitted to the cabinet for consideration to plug the �2.3million shortfall the changes will bring.

New laws to abolish the benefit will come into effect from April 2013, meaning a new system will be introduced.

In the future, local councils will decide how to award council tax deductions to eligible residents. Options include changing the criteria for the council tax reduction or finding money elsewhere.

Residents will be consulted until the end of August, with another report presented to the cabinet in September.

During the last financial year, 22,966 people claimed council tax benefit. Households with children accounted for the most, with 9,244 making a claim. Second highest was those over 60 accounting for 7,171 people.

Labour Valentines Cllr Ross Hatfull said he was concerned the schemes did not include how much each would cost. He said: “It does sort of send out the message that Redbridge does not care about the vulnerable. It doesn’t show how much the loss will be.”

The changes mean local councils will receive 90 percent of last year’s expenditure to fund support schemes.