Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Brent Council wants to leave Council Tax Support unchanged despite summonsing 3,300

The demonstration outside Willesden Magistrates Court
Some Brent Council consultations get more publicity than others. This one on the Council Tax Support Scheme seems a little hidden away so I thought I would bring it to your attention. The present system resulted in 3,300 people being summonsed to Willesden Magistrates Court by the Council for non-payment and a demonstration outside the court which received wide publicity. Some of those summonsed incurred extra court charges of £90 or more on top of the amount owed.

This consultation started without fanfare on November 11th and ends on December 12th.

Now believe it or not the Council, with minor changes, wants to keep essentially the same scheme despite Muhammed Butt vowing that Labour would protect the vulnerbale at last night's Council Meeting.

Below is an extract from the Council website. You can see the full consultation portal and submit your views HERE

Local Council Tax Support 2014-15

Who is consulting?
Regeneration and Growth
Why are we consulting?
Council tax Support schemes (CTS) reduce the amount of council tax low income households have to pay to the council.
Brent Council is now consulting with residents and other interested parties on its current scheme and the option to:
• Make no changes other than those prescribed by legislation plus a small change to include an additional group to be classed as vulnerable (and hence protected from the 20% minimum charge) as follows:
- up-rate statutory child-minding changes;
- review to fully disregard war pensions rather than setting a local discount scheme  for pensioner claims;
- up-rate the allowances, premium and non-dependent deductions for pensioners for 2014-15;
- include those working Age customers on Lower and Higher Rate Incapacity Benefit to the vulnerable group.
The Government is committed to protecting pensioners on low incomes, who it does not want to see disadvantaged as a result of the introduction of local council tax support. To deliver this protection, the Prescribed Requirements regulations contain provisions that must be included in a billing authority’s council tax reduction scheme in relation to pensioners.
To ensure that this protection is maintained, the Government intends to amend the Prescribed Requirements Regulations to up-rate the allowances, premium and non-dependent deductions for pensioners for 2014-15.  The Government intends to up-rate:
• personal allowances in line with Pension Credit rates
• most premia in line with CPI; and
• non-dependant deductions in line with growth in eligible council tax.
Brent’s proposals
We are proposing a Council Tax Support (CTR) scheme for 2014 -2015 that is in line with the needs of the community and incentivises people to get back into work.   Before making a decision we are seeking the views of local people and those who may be affected.
Pension Credit Age (100% scheme)
If you are of Pension Credit age you will not be affected by any changes.  People of Pension Credit age can have a maximum of 100% of their Council Tax paid depending on their income and other circumstances.
Working Age Scheme (WA scheme)
If a person is not of Pension Credit age they will be on the Working Age (WA) scheme and their CTS will be determined by the rules of the WA scheme
Why We Are Consulting
By law each financial year the Council must consider whether to revise or replace its scheme.  Any revision must be made by 31 January in the preceding financial year to that which it is to take effect. This means the Council must consider any revision to its current scheme by 31 January 2014.  
The Council’s preferred option would be to keep the scheme as it is with “No Change” other than prescribed changes to uprating for pensioner claims.  We would like your opinion about Brent’s preferred option of “No Change”.
Your opinion
The Council would like your views on its preferred scheme for 2014-15. In particular:
• If you consider that any other working age group should be protected from paying at least 20% of their council tax bill.
• Whether you have any comments or suggestions about our proposed Council Tax Support scheme generally.
Detailed information is in the documents listed below:
You can find the CTB scheme by visiting the DWP website: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/215/contents/made
Please click on the online survey link below and tell us your views.
When is the consultation taking place?
Start:  11/11/2013      End: 6/12/2013
Who is being consulted?
Target Group:  All Brent residents             
Geographic area:  Borough-wide               
Consultation methods: Online questionnaire


Trevor said...

What an Insult.
We already Pay huge amounts in council Tax and What We Get back is unacceptable in My Opinion
and so for the Council To say that They are being considerate to our Feelings
just makes me shake My Head in disbelief.

Pixietigerlily said...

I came across the Consultation by accident two days ago. I wonder how many people have not used their voice to let Councillor Butt know that he is not supporting the vulnerable in Brent? What can we do to ensure those on benefits are aware of these consultations?