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Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has put forward the council tax plan
SUPPORT given to people struggling to pay their council tax bill could be reduced under plans being put forward by the borough council.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council chiefs have put forward a number of options that would limit the amount of council tax benefit people receive, and they have launched a public consultation asking people to choose which of five options they think is best.
Currently, the amount of council tax benefit people receive is worked out individually and is calculated on a person’s income, whether they receive other benefits, and the amount they have saved up.
There are five proposals, with option one being a “no change” scenario which means some people do not have to pay any council tax. The remaining four options propose capping council tax benefit.
The options are that working-age people receiving benefit would have to pay up to 15, 20, 25, or 30 per cent of their council tax bill.
People receiving council tax benefit who have children aged five and under, receive disability benefit or a carer’s allowance would not be affected by the proposal.
The consultation has been prompted by a Government decision to cut local councils grants for council tax support schemes by 10 per cent.
The council has also proposed stopping second adult rebate payments. Second adult rebate is a discount of up to 25 per cent given to people not entitled to council tax benefit because their income is too high but have another adult living with them who is on a low income.
Councillor Hayley Eachus, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Conservative Cabinet member for community services, said the council “needs to look longer term” at how much council tax support is given to people on low incomes.
She said: “Although the council was able to retain the previous level of support for one year, we need to look at the longer term and where the money is to come from.
“This consultation seeks views on whether people should be expected to contribute something towards their council tax, and if so, how much.
“In putting forward these proposals, our aim is to protect the most vulnerable people in the borough and to help those people who are unemployed to return to work.”
A similar proposal to cap council tax benefits by 30 per cent over three years was tabled by the Conservative administration at Full Council in December last year. The motion was defeated by a united opposition 29 votes to 28.
To fill out the consultation, visit basingstoke.gov.uk/go/ctaxchanges or call 01256 845688 for a paper copy. The consultation closes on October 12.
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