‘Pay more towards council tax charges in South Holland’, cabinet decides

Coun Peter Coupland, portfolio holder for finance, South Holland District Council.
Coun Peter Coupland, portfolio holder for finance, South Holland District Council.
  • Changes to be made to keep up support
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Just over 3,500 people in South Holland could be paying more of their council tax bills from April to save £187,000 in public money.

Changes to the area’s Local Council Tax Support Scheme, including a cut in the maximum level of discount given to people of working age, were approved by South Holland District Council cabinet members on Tuesday.

In recent years the council has experienced major financial changes due to reductions in funding from central government, volatility in financing and cost/income pressures on services

Coun Peter Coupland, portfolio holder for finance, South Holland District Council

Under changes set to be introduced for the 2017-18 financial year, working age residents on low incomes will be entitled to a maximum of 70 per cent council tax relief, rather than 75 per cent.

There will also be a reduction to the amount of savings and capital, including property, shares and money held in banks, people can have and still be eligible for relief, with the limit falling from £16,000 to £8,000.

Coun Peter Coupland, the council’s portfolio holder for finance, said: “In recent years the council has experienced major financial changes due to reductions in funding from central government.

“There has also been volatility in financing and cost/income pressures on services.

“However, we also aim to develop safer, stronger, healthier and more independent communities, whilst protecting the most vulnerable.”

A final decision on the support scheme is expected when the entire council meets next Wednesday, with the majority of people affected facing a drop in council tax support of less than 77 pence per week.

But support for pensioners, parents with children, disabilities or caring responsibilities will remain unchanged.

There are also plans to introduce a “hardship policy” to protect those affected by changes to the current scheme.

A report prepared for Tuesday’s meeting said: “National funding for the scheme is diminishing and a reduction in the level of support means working age claimants will be required to pay more of their council tax bill.”

Responsibility for helping people unable to afford full payment of their council tax bills was passed over from the Government to district councils in April 2013.

The only real change took place in 2014-15 when South Holland District Council asked people of working age to pay at least 25 per cent of their council tax bill.

But from April, claimants are likely to have to pay at least 30 per cent, whilst people earning too much to qualify for council tax relief but who have low-income adults living with them will see support scrapped altogether from 2019-20.

The changes will see the cost of council tax support to the district council, Lincolnshire County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner fall by £187,000.

Responsibility for helping people unable to afford full payment of their council tax bills was passed over from the Government to district councils in April 2013.

The only real change took place in 2014-15 when South Holland District Council asked people of working age to pay at least 25 per cent of their council tax bill.

But from April, claimants are likely to have to pay at least 30 per cent, whilst people earning too much to qualify for council tax relief but who have low-income adults living with them will see support scrapped altogether from 2019-20.

The changes will see the cost of council tax support to the district council, Lincolnshire County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner fall by £187,000.