The scheme, which provides support for people on certain benefits and low incomes, and since 2013 has been reviewed annually due to the continued reduction in grant funding the council receives from the government each year.
The council is therefore having to consider whether to make further changes to the Local Council Tax Support Scheme next year, and would like people to share their views on the proposed changes.
There are seven possible changes that could be made to the scheme from April 2017 including implementing a number of national welfare benefit reforms into the scheme. These could affect just over 7,000 existing working age claimants across the Island.
The changes for consideration are:
• Reducing the maximum level of Council Tax Reduction support from 80 per cent to either 75 per cent or 70 per cent.
• Reduce the period for which a person can be absent from Great Britain and still receive Council Tax Reduction from 13 weeks to four weeks.
• Remove the element of a Work Related Activity Component in the calculation of the current scheme for new Employment Support Allowance claimants.
• To limit the number of dependent children within the calculation of Council Tax Reduction to a maximum of two for any new children born on or after 1 April 2017.
• To remove entitlement to the Severe Disability Premium where another person is paid Universal Credit (Carer’s Element).
• To limit Council Tax Reduction to a maximum council tax band C charge.
• To set a minimum level of Council Tax Reduction support at £2 per week.
More detail and information about how these changes may affect individual claimants are shown in a number of case studies on the council’s website, and also within the survey.
Councillor Jonathan Bacon, leader of the Isle of Wight Council and Executive member for resources, said:
“The challenges the council faces have been widely publicised and we are having to look closely at everything we do in order to run the council as efficiently as possible so that our limited funds can be spent in those most in need.
“As part of this annual review we have looked carefully at the Local Council Tax Support Scheme and identified a number of potential changes which would generate savings for the council while still providing a fair level of support to those residents who are on a low income.
“I would encourage all residents to visit the consultation pages on the council’s website and have their say on this important issue.”
Different households will be affected in different ways depending on their individual circumstances. Case studies for each option are available alongside the consultation, online at www.iwight.com/lcts.
Following this consultation recommendations will be considered by the Council’s Full Council in January, with a view to bringing in changes from April 2017.
Views of all residents are being sought, from 15 September until 10th November online at www.iwight.com/lcts. Paper copies of the survey are also available by calling 01983 823653.