Test Valley Borough Council’s Cabinet has agreed to protect those who are unable to work due to a disability in an upcoming consultation on changes to the local Council Tax support scheme.
The 12-week consultation, set to commence in June, will consider three options for changes to the 2019/20 support scheme:
· Apply a cap on financial support so that Council Tax payers would pay a minimum of 10, 15 or 20 per cent of their Council Tax
· Simplification of the scheme
· Increase minimum weekly CTS award from 50p to £1
However, at a meeting on Wednesday 18 April, the Council’s Cabinet agreed that those receiving the ‘support’ component of Employment Support Allowance or the ‘limited capability for work’ element of Universal Credit would not be affected by a cap.
Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North, said: “In previous years when changes to the level of financial support have been discussed, representations were made on behalf on those Council Tax payers who are unable to work as a result of a disability. I know that I and my fellow Cabinet members found these representations compelling and the Cabinet asked Council officers if it would be possible to design a scheme that would offer this group of individuals protection from any reduction in financial assistance. I am pleased to report that officers have confirmed that they are able to do so and that this identification is straight forward and can be achieved using a certain element of Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit as a qualifying criteria.”
The Council will send a copy of the consultation to all those currently in receipt of Council Tax support and likely to be affected by the proposed changes. The Council will also invite Council Tax payers and local partners, groups and organisations to submit a response. Following the consultation, councillors will make a decision on what changes, if any, should be implemented.