Proposals to increase support for residents struggling to pay Council Tax
Hackney Council is proposing to increase the amount of support it provides to those struggling to pay their Council Tax.
The changes would mean that those who qualify for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) will get up to 85% paid if they are of working age - up from 83%.
Pensioners and young people leaving care will continue to get 100% of their Council Tax paid.
The proposals follow a series of recent Government announcements which suggest they expect councils to increase Council Tax to the maximum level each year. The Council had previously committed to regularly review its CTRS, to ensure the borough’s poorest residents are not disproportionately affected by Council Tax increases.
Through recent funding announcements, the Government has made it clear that it expects councils to increase Council Tax every year, rather than relying on central funding.
We know we will have no choice other than to continue to increase Council Tax over the coming years to enable us to keep providing the vital services on which our residents rely. In order to protect our poorest residents, who have also borne the brunt of Government welfare cuts, we therefore need to revisit our Council Tax Reduction Scheme to make sure it’s supporting those who need it.
The Council's long term ambition is to reduce contributions to zero, returning it to a fully paid benefit as it was before Government reforms in 2012. We will be bringing forward proposals in future years that will take us towards this. In the meantime we will continue to call on the Government to return to fully funding what used to be a national benefit, which is now costing councils like Hackney millions of pounds every year.
The Government handed responsibility for administering Council Tax Benefit - with a significant reduction in funding to councils in 2013. Hackney Council currently invests £25m - the same as its entire Children and Families Services budget - into the CTRS to help over 27,000 working age residents pay their Council Tax. Under the Council’s new proposals, this investment will increase by a further £0.5m.
Residents can have their say online at hackney.gov.uk/CTRS until 8 December.
To request a paper copy of the questionnaire, call 020 8356 3300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A drop-in event will take place on Tuesday 12 November at 11am-3pm, at Hackney Service Centre, 1 Hillman Street, E8 1DY.