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Decision details

Review of Council Tax Reduction Scheme

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

To recommend Council to resolve to adopt a new or revised Council Tax Reduction Scheme and any changes to Local Council Tax Discounts.

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The review of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme sought to deliver three primary objectives:

· Move towards a scheme that was more adaptable to Universal Credit regulations.

· Provide clarity to Universal Credit claimants as to what their entitlement to Council Tax Reduction would be.

· Mitigate against expected reduction in Government administration grants for processing Council Tax Reduction claims.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources

i.  Approved the proposed localised Council Tax Reduction schemes (as set out in the officers report) subject to the requirement for the Head of Revenues and Benefits to bring a report back to Committee if there were any changes to the core schemes in the officers report, or to the universal credit timeline (2023).

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Benefits Manager.

 

The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Queried the proposal that the Annual Review of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme should be delegated to the Head of Revenues and Benefits as commented that he would be keen to see the reports coming back to the committee. 

 

The Benefits Manager said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The Scheme would be uprated in accordance with CPI.

  ii.  It was difficult to predict universal credit migration, the City Council had 900 people on universal credit and South Cambridgeshire District Council had 500 people on universal credit.

 

Following concerns raised regarding the delegation of the annual review of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme to the Head of Revenues and Benefits. The Executive Councillor suggested the following amendment to the summary of key recommendations from April 2020 (additional text underlined):

 

i.  To adopt earnings based banded local Council Tax Reduction scheme for Universal Credit claimants and to have fixed non-dependant deductions for these claims.

ii.  To continue with the current Council Tax Reduction scheme (to include annual uprating) for working age claimants who are not in receipt of Universal Credit.

iii.  To agree uprating equal to September CPI for income bands, amounts to pay and non-dependant bands and deductions.

iv.  To approve delegation of the Council Tax Reduction schemes annual review to the Head of Revenues and Benefits, and subject to the above recommendations being adopted, that these schemes continue (subject to uprating) until March 2023. Any changes to the core schemes in the officer’s report, or to the universal credit timeline 2023 will be brought back to Committee.

v.  To provide transitional protection for households transferring to the banded scheme on 1 April 2020.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the amended recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the amended recommendations.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

 

 

Publication date: 23/01/2020

Date of decision: 23/01/2020