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Agenda item

Report of the Director of Mid Kent Services - Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2017/2018

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Mid Kent Services relating to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2017/18.

 

Members were advised that in 2013 funding had changed when the scheme was localised.  The position had changed in that the cost of the support had been met in full by the Department of Works and Pensions to a partly funded scheme where the cost was met through the revenue support grant which had seen year on year reductions and would be fully withdrawn from April 2017. 

 

It was noted that the full cost of the scheme was £8.8m and would be met locally by the Council, Kent County Council and other preceptors.  The cost to this Council would be around £1.3m. 

 

Members noted that the changes outlined in the report were designed to help balance the cost of the scheme in view of the reduction in funding to ensure that we can provide support for those most in need whilst recognising the needs of the wider council tax payer who now meets the cost.

 

In June this year the Committee were asked to consider a wide range of options on how the scheme could be reformed.  It was agreed that the Council should look to retain the current structure of the scheme and undertake a public consultation on the potential changes.

The consultation, which ran from 1 July to 24 August 2016, was completed predominantly on-line with details being sent to approximately 9,000 residents, as well as being publicised through the Gateway and other local stakeholders.  The response was very positive, with a total of 1,471 people responding to the questionnaire, over 300 of which were from households in receipt of the Council Tax reduction.

 

The results of the consultation showed that residents valued the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and would like to see it continue but not at the cost to other services or an increase to council tax.  The results therefore endorsed the Council’s broader approach to retaining the scheme.

 

In response to questions raised by Members, the Director of Mid Kent Services advised that:-

·  The average impact figure quoted in the report was a weekly figure

·  Option 5 – there was no data available for this option so it could not be identified how many this would affect.

·  Option 11 – This was to be removed anyway.

·  All the figures had been rounded.



In the ensuing discussion Members raised a number of issues which included:-

·  The figures were erroneous; could the actual figures be made available?

·  What impact would it have on the average person/family and the impact on those who would be affected by more than one option?

 

·  How are other authorities administering this?

In the light of the comments made Councillor Mrs Wilson proposed and Councillor Mrs Ring seconded that the report be deferred to enable the Officer to come back with a revised report that addressed all the points raised in the debate, including:-

 

·  Clarity needs to be given in terms of the figures

·  What would the cumulative impact of the changes proposed be

·  What would the practical impact of these changes be on individuals and whether there should be changes made in the light of the comments made by Members during the discussions

·  What would the knock on effect be on the costs that the Council may have elsewhere, i.e. homelessness

·  Can comparisons be given in relation to how other local authorities are administering the scheme

 

RESOLVED:  That the report be deferred to enable the Officer to come back with a revised report addressing the comments made during the debate.

 

For:  14  Against:  0  Abstentions:  0

 

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