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Have your say on the new council tax support scheme

[Monday 6 August 2012]

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Torridge and North Devon Councils are asking local residents to have their say on some major changes to the way council tax benefits are calculated.

The government has asked local councils to come up with new local council tax support schemes to replace council tax benefits. These new schemes must come into effect from April 2013.

At the same time, the government has also cut the amount of money each district has to pay for council tax support, meaning some difficult decisions have to be made about who will be offered financial support in the future and how much they will be given.

An eight-week consultation begins on Monday 6 August, allowing local people to have their say on the new local council tax support schemes for Torridge and North Devon Councils. Although only working age people will be directly affected by the changes, everyone needs to know what is happening, and everyone’s views are valued.

Leader of Torridge District Council, Cllr Barry Parsons says: "We will be asking people to fill in online or paper surveys and to let us know if they think we have got our district scheme right. We will be inviting all sections of the adult population to take part in the survey – not just those who are directly affected. It's really important that we limit the impact on our benefit claimants, so we must design the best scheme we can and operate it effectively."

Leader of North Devon Council, Cllr Brian Greenslade says: "In handing over responsibility to local councils, the government is cutting the amount it gives us to pay for council tax support by at least 10 per cent. Pensioners and some other vulnerable groups are protected from the cuts, so their support won’t be affected. However, working age people can expect to see a reduction in their council tax support next year. As well as writing to all those people of working age who currently receive council tax benefit, we want to know what our other residents think about our scheme so that we know it is right for North Devon."

People can have their say on the new scheme for Torridge by visiting the Torridge website (external website) or paper copies are available at each of the council offices in Bideford, Torrington or Holsworthy.

North Devon Council’s consultation is available on the NDC website until 1 October 2012. For more information about these changes call 01271 388871, email or visit the council offices at Lynton House in Barnstaple, The Amory Centre in South Molton and The Ilfracombe Centre.

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