Agenda item

Council Tax Support Scheme

Report previously considered by Cabinet on 6 November 2012 is attached.  Cabinet’s recommendation will be circulated prior to Council.



Councillor John Thomson, Cabinet member for Adult Care, Communities and Housing presented a report previously considered by Cabinet on 6 November which provided options in response to the Government’s Welfare Reform changes that would see a significant reduction in the Council’s funding of Council Tax Benefit.


It was proposed therefore to bring in a local, means tested, method of calculating a reduction in council tax; as well as a number of technical changes to council tax discounts and exemptions to go in part to meet that imposed funding gap. A consultation had taken place and it was reported that there had been no significant changes to the results.

The council tax support scheme would only be applied to non-pensioners, on a low or fixed income and be introduced by next April.  Legislation required that this be a decision of full council and that decision then enables a series of defined steps the Council must take to introduce a robust and lawful scheme approved by DCLG by 31st January in order to set its 2013/14 Council Tax and budget requirement thereafter.

The report also identified ways in which the Council proposed to help those most affected through further discretionary support schemes in order to meet its objective of protecting the most vulnerable and strengthening and building resilient communities.

The Leader paid tribute to the work carried out by Cllr Thomson, Michael Hudson and his team in responding to this challenge. She also considered that the proposals put forward as recommended by Cabinet was the fairest way of introducing such a scheme.

Cllr Jon Hubbard also thanked Michael Hudson and his team for their work. However, he pointed out that the Liberal Democrat group had responded to the consultation, details of which had not been incorporated into the report presented. Cllr Thomson acknowledged receipt of the Liberal Democrat proposals and assured him they would be included as part of the consultation responses.




1.    That a local council tax support scheme is introduced, as set out at paragraphs 16 to 18 of the report presented. In particular that capital savings of £10,000 be approved as the level up to which to account for before applying the scheme.


2.    That Technical changes are made to the way in which council tax discounts for second homes and exemptions for properties in classes A, C and L are applied from 1April 2013, as set out at Appendix 2 of the report, and paragraph 20.


3.    That Council introduce a discretionary fund to be administered in conjunction with the discretionary housing payments (DHP) and ring fence the Social Fund grant allocation to mitigate the impact of transition from the old scheme to the new, in cases where householders may feel the impact of other changes to benefit entitlement, under-occupancy costs, for example. Criteria for awards under this scheme to be approved by Cabinet and Council by January / February 2013 and implemented from 1st April 2013.


4.    That the Council expresses its concerns and dismay over requirements in the Welfare and Reform Act which negatively impact residents of Wiltshire.


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