19th Nov, 2017

Hard-up Solihull residents face cuts to council tax benefits

Felix Nobes 6th Nov, 2017 Updated: 13th Nov, 2017

HARD-UP households are set to lose vital money as Solihull councillors are being recommended to approve cuts to council tax benefits.

It follows a public consultation into proposed changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

A document written by council officers to Conservative councillors sitting on the ruling council cabinet on Thursday (November 9) proposes going ahead with the change from April next year.

The cut would remove the Second Adult Rebate from the scheme.

The changes will affect some of Solihull’s most vulnerable.

The CTR scheme offers eligible people help towards paying their council tax and is reviewed every year.

Under the current scheme, lower-income people who are not eligible to claim a single person discount because they have another adult living with them may be able to claim second adult rebate (a discount on their council tax bill of up to 25 per cent) if that adult is not their partner and is on a low income or receives certain benefits.

Depending on the income of the second adult, the council tax payer could benefit from a reduction in council tax of seven per cent, 15 per cent or 25 per cent, regardless of their own income.

The proposal is to scrap the Second Adult Rebate to enable the council to save £44,000-a-year.

The proposals state the savings would be used to provide other support to people who struggle to pay Council Tax.

More than 200 customers of working age would no longer be eligible to receive any Second Adult Rebate.

The council wrote to all residents using the scheme in July to advise them of the proposals and ask for their views.

Only 222 of 14,400 council tax reduction recipients (working age and pensioners) responded.

According to the council, 82 per cent of respondents agreed with the proposals that ‘we should not increase the minimum payment of 15 per cent for working age people in Solihull among those who are liable to pay council tax introduced in April 2017’.

A further 67 per cent agreed that ‘we should remove Second Adult Rebate from our CTR scheme for working age people in Solihull who are liable to pay council tax’.

If approved on Thursday by cabinet, the final decision will go to a full council meeting next month.

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