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CTRSResidents are being asked for their views on plans to change a scheme which helps people on low income to pay their Council Tax bill.

Wyre Forest District Council is asking people to take part in a consultation by answering a questionnaire on its Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS). 

This is a scheme which gives help to working age people on a low income to pay their Council Tax Bill. The Council has to review the scheme each year and is looking to make changes to it.

Councillor Sara Fearn, Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Transformation and Change said:

“The Council Tax Reduction Scheme helps the poorest residents in our communities by reducing the amount of council tax they have to pay.  The amount of help we give is based on a claimant’s financial situation.  We are reviewing the way we run the scheme and considering changing some of its features.  The Council has a difficult financial situation to manage over the next three years and will have to make savings of £1m.  Part of this could come from making a small reduction to the amount of help provided to residents through the scheme.” 

At the moment people can claim up to 90 per cent of their bill, which means they have to pay at least 10 per cent.  One of the proposals is to change the minimum amount someone has to pay. The Council is asking people whether they think it should change and, if so, whether the minimum paid by working age people should be 15 percent or 20 percent.

Another suggestion is to change the amount of savings people are allowed to have whilst still being entitled to apply for the scheme.  At the moment anyone who has savings and investments of more than £16,000 is not entitled to any Council Tax Reduction.  The survey is looking to find out whether people think this should be reduced. 

The Council also provides a Council Tax Support Fund, to make sure the most vulnerable people are protected.  Residents are being asked whether they feel the fund should be continued.

Councillor Fearn added:

“It is a complex issue and we have fully explained the various options in the questionnaire.  It really is important that people read the background information and then have their say on the scheme. It can be completed online or paper versions of the survey will be available from the Worcestershire Hub.”       

To take part visit between 6 July and 27 September 2015.

Any decision to change the scheme must be agreed by full Council by 31 January 2016 and they would be implemented in April 2016.

Wyre Forest District Council