Sefton Council Tax Reduction Scheme Consultation (consultation closes 10th November)

The council is considering changing its Council Tax Reduction scheme for working age customers from April 2018.

Pension age claimants will not be affected by these proposed changes.

What we plan to do for 2018/19 and why

Currently around 27,000 households receive Council Tax Reduction in Sefton.

As a result of the Government making alterations to the Housing Benefit Scheme and other welfare reform changes, there is now the need to consider making some technical adjustments to our local Council Tax Reduction Scheme for non-pensioner claimants only, so that both schemes are more aligned.

Sefton Council is getting a lot less money from the Government towards the important services that it provides and local councillors have to find ways to save money. Making some minor technical changes will make the Council’s Scheme easier and less costly to administer for the Council.

We want to

  • Align some of the Government’s key Welfare Reform changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for non-pensioners.
  • Work more effectively with Universal Credit recognising that Universal Credit makes provision for children, disability, housing and caring responsibilities.
  • Make administrative efficiencies where possible in support of the scheme.

We believe that our proposed changes will make it easier for people to understand how the Council Tax Reduction scheme works with Universal Credit and make it easier and cheaper for the Council to deal with frequent changes in people’s circumstances.

The proposals we are consulting are:-

  1. Should we keep the 2017/18 Council Tax Reduction Scheme without change for another 12 months?
  2. For claimants in receipt of Universal Credit should we apply a fixed income period to avoid multiple changes in circumstances?
  3. Should we use a minimum set income for the self-employed after one year of self-employment in line with Universal Credit rules?
  4. Should we reduce the period for which a person can be absent from Great Britain and still receive Council Tax Reduction?
  5. Should we amend the Council Tax Reduction Scheme to disregard Bereavement Support payments in line with changes to Housing Benefit?
  6. Should we remove the element of the Work Related Activity Component in the Council Tax Reduction for applicants in line with Housing Benefit rules?
  7. Should we fully disregard Payments awarded from the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund and London Emergencies Trust when calculating Council Tax entitlement?

Pensioner Claimants

We do not propose to make any changes to the scheme for pensioner claimants.  This is because the scheme for pensioners is prescribed by the Government at a national level. So pensioner claimants will continue to receive the same level of support as in 2017/18, except where their circumstances change or there are changes in Government legislation.

Supporting Information

Please read the supporting information below, before completing the survey.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2018/19 – Background Paper  (pdf 412KB)
Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2018/19 – Example Scenarios  (pdf 139KB)
Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2018/19 – Easy Read Background Information  (pdf 4.18MB)

How to comment

We would like to hear your views on the proposed changes. We welcome comments from all Sefton residents, whether you claim benefits or not. This is your chance to help us consider if the existing scheme should be changed.

The closing date for comments is November 10, 2017.

What happens next?

The results of the consultation and the council’s decision will be published on this website after January 2018.

Contact us

If you have any further questions about this consultation you can email:-  Counciltax.Consultation@sefton.gov.uk