Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) helps people on a low income to pay their Council Tax. Chelmsford City Council is now consulting on adding in-year flexibility to the rules.
The money the Government provides to help pay for the scheme has reduced each year and the Government’s funding is now not enough to fully pay for it. Chelmsford City Council is not proposing to alter the main elements of the existing scheme in 2021/22, but it would like your views on a change which will give the Council more flexibility to react to unusual circumstances.
The City Council is asking residents for views on actions that could be taken in future to bridge the funding shortfall, which could be as much as £295,000 in 2020/21. Funding the LCTS scheme just with the government grant money will mean working-age people will receive less help and will have to pay more towards their Council Tax. If the City Council makes up the difference, the money will need to be found from somewhere else, which could result in increasing Council Tax, reducing some services, using money that the Council has saved, or a combination of all these things.
Read about the current scheme, the proposed change and have your say by responding to the survey. The consultation will close on Monday 18 January 2021.
The Government sets the rules about LCTS for those receiving the state pension, but the City Council has some control over the rules for working-age households.
Leader of Chelmsford City Council, Councillor Stephen Robinson explains that the decisions are not being made lightly:
“2020 has shown unexpected events do occur. Therefore, the City Council needs the flexibility to change the scheme during a financial year. This will help us ensure households aren’t adversely affected if the Government changes other welfare benefit rules, with the intention of giving people more money. However, the City Council’s savings and income are already under extreme pressure this year because of the pandemic. So the Council needs to consider what is achievable in the longer-term whilst remaining mindful of the unexpected.”
You can share your views with the City Council until Monday 18 January 2021. It’s recommended that you read about the current scheme and the proposed changes in detail before completing the survey: www.chelmsford.gov.uk/benefits-survey.