Local Council Tax Support
Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
To seek Cabinet’s agreement and recommend to Council that the recommendations within the report be approved.
RECOMMEND to Council that:
1) the new Council Tax Support Scheme be approved;
2) an application be made for a Transitional Grant and the draft Local Council Tax Support scheme be amended to reflect the grant scheme criteria; and
3) technical changes be made in regard to the collection of Council Tax.
Reasons for the decision:
It was recommended that Cabinet agreed the new Local Council Tax Support Scheme and recommended it to Council for adoption.
It was further recommended that Breckland Council applied for a Transitional Grant and amended the draft Local Council Tax Support scheme to reflect the grant scheme criteria.
The new criteria were largely consistent with those consulted upon; the only difference being 8.5% limit on increased council tax liability. In applying for the grant, Breckland Council will minimise the impact on benefit recipients, for at least one year, of reductions in council tax support.
There were a number of different criteria which could be used to deliver a local scheme. Other billing authorities were expected to agree some different arrangements reflecting their own local circumstances. The proposals put forward here largely reflect the current policies for the award of council tax benefit but reflect the reduced level of funding available by capping the maximum award [in line with the Transitional Grant Criteria].
To deliver the required saving from changes to the Council Tax scheme alone, without the Transitional Grant and with no income from technical changes to Council Tax exemptions, would lead to a reduced level of support across all working age claims by approximately 25%.
It would be possible for the Council to meet the shortfall in funding from the Council’s budget. However, this would also create a pressure on the other major precepting authorities’ budgets and was inconsistent with the approach agreed across Norfolk.
Alternative options considered:
Council Tax Support
1) Do nothing. If the Council did not adopt a LCTS scheme based on agreed local criteria then the Government’s “default scheme” would be implemented.
2) To agree and recommend to Council that the draft Local Council Tax Support scheme – which formed the basis of consultation – be finalised and adopted in Breckland.
3) To apply for a Transitional Grant and amend the draft Local Council Tax Support scheme to reflect the grant scheme criteria.
1) Do nothing. If the Council did not make technical changes to Council Tax exemptions then the funding shortfall would have to met by the Local Council Tax Support scheme with less support for working age claimants.
2) To agree and recommend to Council that technical changes be made to the collection of Council Tax as described above and in line with the other billing authorities in Norfolk and in agreement with Norfolk County Council.
Report author: Sharon Jones, Rob Walker
Publication date: 10/01/2013
Date of decision: 08/01/2013
Decided at meeting: 08/01/2013 - Cabinet