Changes to the level of financial help some Hertsmere residents receive towards paying their council tax bill are being considered to make the system fairer and to bring our local scheme in line with national housing benefit policy implemented by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Residents are being asked for their thoughts on proposed changes to Hertsmere Borough Council’s council tax support scheme.
Among the plans up for consultation are limiting the time in which support can be backdated from six months to one month; cutting how long people can be out of the country and qualify for council tax support and removing the family premium, part of the amount set by the Government for households with at least one child to live on and used in benefit calculations to compare income.
The Government has introduced changes to the way housing benefit is calculated over the last few years, but have left it to local authorities to decide if they wanted to take the same steps with their own local council tax support schemes. Members of the public have until 19 November to have their say.
Councillor John Graham, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Property and Economic Development, said: “Council tax support is available for anyone who lives in Hertsmere, has a low income and needs help to pay their bill.
“When the system was devolved to local authorities four years ago, we conducted a public consultation to make sure that the new scheme would work within our budgets and protect the most vulnerable and needy.
“This is the first time we’re considering making changes since we introduced the scheme. These changes are intended to ensure our system is in line with the DWP housing benefit scheme which will mitigate confusion for claimants as well as administrative burdens for the council. They are also common-sense measures intended to ensure our limited resources are going to the people who need them most.
“We want everyone to have a say about these proposals, whether you receive this form of benefit or not. It’s important we hear from as many people as possible in our community.”
Find out more on how to have your say on the Council Tax Support Scheme changes or complete the online survey now.
It takes just five to 10 minutes to complete and submit online. Alternatively, paper copies of the questionnaire are available at the Civic Offices. They must be returned to Council Tax Support Consultation, Benefits team, Hertsmere Borough Council, Elstree Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 1WA by no later than 19 November 2017.
All responses and feedback will be considered by members before a final decision is made in January 2018. If approved, the changes will come into effect from 1 April 2018.
Posted on Wednesday 16th August 2017