People in Northampton, Daventry and South Northamptonshire are being invited to have their say on proposed changes to Local Council Tax Reduction Schemes (LCTRS).
The schemes provide a reduction for working-age people and households on low incomes, to help them pay their council tax bill. Currently there are individual schemes in place for Northampton, Daventry and South Northamptonshire, which are administered by the councils in each area.
Each council offers a different level of support through their LCTRS scheme, but on 1 April 2021, there will be one new council for West Northamptonshire, replacing Northamptonshire County Council, Northampton Borough Council, Daventry District Council and South Northamptonshire Council.
The formation of this new unitary Council means that the three existing schemes need to be brought together into one consistent scheme effective from 1 April 2021, which offers the same level of Council Tax support, regardless of where a resident lives in the West Northamptonshire area.
Currently, the minimum Council Tax contribution that working age people must pay ranges from 8.5% to 31% across the three Councils. One proposal to bring the schemes together is for the minimum contribution to be set at 26.5%, meaning a maximum discount of 73.5% would be offered through the new scheme.
This proposal would see greater support given to the majority of working age claimants. A minority would receive less support than under the current schemes.
The proposal would also make the scheme broadly cost neutral to the new authority and place no additional cost on the wider taxpayer.
There are another five proposals outlined in the consultation document.
Views are sought on the proposed changes during a six-week consultation period, beginning on Monday, 2 November, and finishing at midnight on Sunday 13 December.
Councillor Rebecca Breese, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Revenues and Benefits for West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority, said: “We want the new council tax reduction scheme to support as many people as possible who need help paying their council tax, but we must ensure that the scheme is affordable.
“From April 2021, the new West Northamptonshire Council must offer a fair and consistent scheme to all our residents, regardless of where they live.
“We have reviewed the three current schemes which are in place across the existing councils and have proposed a new scheme that harmonises what is already in place.
“We are keen to ensure that all council tax payers are aware of the changes being proposed and anyone who is likely to be affected by the proposed changes is encouraged to take part in this consultation. Responses will be analysed before a final scheme is presented to Shadow Executive in the New Year.”
Those of pensionable age are protected by the prescribed regulations set out by central Government therefore will not be affected by the changes proposed to the LCTRS in West Northamptonshire, and will continue to receive the same level of support that they have been used to getting from their current council.
Full details about the scheme, how the proposals were developed, and the other options considered, along with the online consultation questionnaire, are available online:
The consultation runs from 2 November, until 13 December 2020 and the final scheme will be agreed by the West Northants Shadow Executive Committee on 26 January 2021. All responses are anonymous, and participants are not required to submit their name or address.