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Council Tax Support Scheme agreed

Working age residents who need help to pay their council tax will continue to receive it, Boston Borough Council has agreed.

Those who are eligible will be able to continue claiming a discount of up to 75 per cent. The council consulted with the public as part of an annual reassessment of the Council Tax Support Scheme. 

The majority of those who responded to the consultation wanted the scheme beginning in April 1, 2016, to stay as it is - the maximum amount of support remaining at 75 per cent of the annual council tax amount for all households other than pensioners and war widows of all ages, who would continue to qualify for up to 100 per cent. This was agreed by the council on Monday (January 18).

The Government abolished council tax benefit in 2013 and the main elements of the council's scheme have been the same for the past two years - but for 2016/17 it asked for opinion on different options, some reflecting expected cuts in council funding and the increasing challenge of fully-funding council tax support.

Some small technical changes to align the scheme with the national position were approved. These include those who are self employed meeting a minimum income level; a maximum one-month backdate period for working-age claims - in 2014/15 backdated council tax support was more than £100,000; removal of the family premium for new claims from May 1 - this is where £17.10 is disregarded when there are children in the household and tax credit is received. The Government has indicated that this is to be removed for all new claims for housing benefit. 

Cabinet also recommended abolishing the second adult rebate. This is where a person whose income is too high to qualify for main Council Tax Support may receive a reduction of council tax of up to 25 per cent if other adults in the household are below the income threshold. This costs £11,000 a year.

Council Tax Support will remain unchanged for those living in properties in bands A to D inclusive, but for those in properties in bands E to H inclusive the amount of Council Tax Support permitted for working age claimants is to be capped at the level which can be claimed in a band D property.