Agenda item

Draft Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2021/22 Part 2

To consider and decide on the recommendations as set out in the attached report.

Decision:

RESOLVED – That Full Council be recommended:

 

  1. That the results of the public consultation as set out in Appendix A to the report be noted:
  2. That Model 1 of the of the 2021/22 Council Tax Reduction Scheme as set out in Appendix B to the report be approved; and
  3. That the impacts highlighted in the Policy in Practice analysis and EqIA be noted  and authority be delegated to the Head of Revenues and Benefits in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Governance to consider mitigations to those impacts and make any changes deemed necessary within the Exceptional Hardship Policy. 

 

REASON FOR DECISION: To allow the final scheme to be implemented to take effect from April 2021.

Minutes:

Sheila Coburn, Head of Revenues and Benefits Shared Services introduced the report that dealt with the proposed changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2021/22.

 

Discussion and responses to Members questions included the following:

 

-       On 6 August 2020, Cabinet agreed that TWBC would introduce an income banded scheme for 2021/22 and consult on 3 schemes that had been modelled by external consultants.

-       There was a need to replace the current scheme as it was outdated and completely reactive to changes.  The number of cases that had moved to Universal Credit and the multiple changes that occurred resulted in Council Tax bills being issued each time.  This brought challenges to the administration of Council Tax Reduction, the collection of Council Tax and was confusing for customers.

-       The five objectives that were considered when looking at an income banded scheme were to maintain the maximum basis of award of 80% of Council Tax liability, protect disabled households, simplify assessments and reassessments, maintain the amount of awards to claimants in line with the current scheme (had it been carried forward into next year) and understand the impact of specific groups based on gender, disability and age.

-       TWBC consulted on 3 models (between 20 August and 2 October 2020), details of which were included in the report.

-       Model 1 – this was an income banded model which only took into account employment earnings.

-       Model 2 – this was the same as Model 1 but with an additional uplift of 5% for those claimants in receipt of a disability or sickness benefit in bands 2-5 for either themselves or someone else in the household.

-       Model 3 – this would reduce the maximum award to 70%.

-       Although Model 2 came out as the preferred model this was because disabled respondents accounted for 57% of those that responded to the consultation.  Model 1 scored close behind model 2 and was the preferred model by non disabled respondents (35%).

-       The report recommended Model 1.  The reasons for this choice was that it met all the objectives set when looking at a new income banded scheme.

-       In addition to Model 1 meeting all the objectives, the continuing uncertainty around Covid-19 meant that it was likely the number of claimants would increase.

-       The Council needed to be fair to all tax payers as they in effect funded the scheme.

 

RESOLVED – That Full Council be recommended:

 

  1. That the results of the public consultation as set out in Appendix A to the report be noted:
  2. That Model 1 of the of the 2021/22 Council Tax Reduction Scheme as set out in Appendix B to the report be approved; and
  3. That the impacts highlighted in the Policy in Practice analysis and EqIA be noted  and authority be delegated to the Head of Revenues and Benefits in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Governance to consider mitigations to those impacts and make any changes deemed necessary within the Exceptional Hardship Policy. 

 

REASON FOR DECISION: To allow the final scheme to be implemented to take effect from April 2021.

 

Supporting documents: