A scheme that discounts Council Tax bills for working age people on a low income is being revised in April 2016.
Wyre Forest District Council agreed the changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme at its meeting on Wednesday 9 December.
From 1 April people on a low income and who meet set criteria will pay 20 per cent of their bill.
There will also be a change to the amount of savings people are allowed to have while claiming the discount. Only people with savings of £12,000 and under will be able to apply for the scheme. This has been reduced from £16,000.
The minimum amount people can claim is also being reduced from £5 a week to 50p a week. This is in line with housing benefit minimum entitlements. It will help some claimants who are entitled to support but in practice receive nothing because their weekly award is less than £5.
An exceptional hardship fund will still be available, to help people who are unable to pay their Council Tax bill due to financial difficulty.
The decision to make the changes followed a 12 week public consultation. They have been made to help the Council achieve necessary financial savings and to bring Wyre Forest’s scheme into line with other local councils.
Councillor Sara Fearn, Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Transformation and Change said:
“For Wyre Forest District Council to continue to provide excellent services to our residents, we need to ensure that everyone pays their council tax. It is only fair that working age people on a lower income, who cannot pay their full council tax bill, make what payment they can. This discount scheme allows them to pay a reduced amount, whilst still protecting the most vulnerable through the hardship fund.”
The scheme must be reviewed every year but the Cabinet is not minded to change the minimum payment before 2019/20.