Help with Council Tax
Local Council Tax Support Scheme
Council Tax is a local tax on homes (domestic properties) contributes towards the costs of local services, such as education, social services and refuse and recycling collections, as well as contributing towards police and fire services. The amount you pay depends on the property band your home is in, which is based on the value of your property. Your local council is responsible for collecting Council Tax.
Council Tax is usually paid by the occupants of a property. The full tax assumes that there are at least two adults living in the property. If there is only one occupant in the home, they are eligible for a discount. Council Tax is also paid by the property owner where the property is unoccupied.
Central Government has stated that the existing welfare system is unsustainable and changes are needed to make it affordable in the future. The Government have announced a package of reforms to change the system. Reforms include the introduction of a new all-encompassing benefit for working age people called Universal Credit which will replace most benefits and tax credits currently in operation to support working age individuals, couples and families who are out of work or on low earnings. The Welfare Reform Act 2012 also contains provision for the abolition of Council Tax Benefit and the Local Government Finance Bill proposes that local councils should construct schemes to manage support for Council Tax locally. The Government believes this gives councils greater control over local priorities, increases financial autonomy, and gives councils more influence in the economic future of the area. The reforms also contribute to the national programme of deficit reduction and are in line with the Government’s objective to “make work pay” by supporting positive work incentives to help the unemployed back into work.
Local authorities across Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole are working together to design a scheme that manages the administration of Council Tax Support at a lower cost than the previous Council Tax Benefit Scheme, ensuring that the most vulnerable groups are not disadvantaged. Less funding is available from the Government under the new scheme and local Councils must make savings locally to help fund the scheme.
Anyone in receipt of Council Tax Benefit as of March 2013 will be assessed for the new Council Tax Support. It is likely that most people who qualify for Council Tax Support will have to pay more Council Tax than they did before. Anyone liable to pay Council Tax can apply for Council Tax Support and will be assessed in the same way as claimants moving from Council Tax Benefit. The scheme proposes to protect the following vulnerable groups:
• People who are severely disabled (people receiving the highest rate of Disability Allowance care).
• People with a disability (people receiving Disability Living Allowance).
• People who have a disabled child (parents or guardians who have a child that receives Disability Living Allowance).
• Carers (people that care for someone full-time and receive or have underlying entitlement to Carers’ Allowance)
• People receiving war disablement, war widows or widowers pension.
Residents of Christchurch and East Dorset are able to claim Council Tax Support on up to 91.5% of their Council Tax Bill. For further information about how these changes may affect you or to make a claim for Council Tax Support contact your local authority on the details below.
Christchurch and East Dorset: Benefits General Enquiries: 01202 639100,
Fax 01202 887960.