Your Councillors

Council Tax Reduction Consultation

Text Box: Council Tax Reduction


Headline Results. 2

Methodology. 3

Option 1 - Reducing the maximum level of support for working age applicants from 87% to 80%.. 4

Option 2 Removing the Family Premium for all new working age applicants. 6

Option 3 Reducing backdating to one month.. 8

Option 4 using a set income for self-employed earners after one year’s self-employment. 10

Option 5 Reducing the period for which a person can be absent from Great Britain and still receive Council Tax Reduction to four weeks. 12

Option 6 Reduce the capital limit from the existing £16,000 to £6,000. 14

Option 7 To introduce a standard level of non-dependant deduction of £10 for all claimants who have non dependants resident with them... 16

Option 8 To take any Child Maintenance paid to a claimant or partner into account in full in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction.. 18

Option 9 To restrict the maximum level of Council Tax Reduction payable to the equivalent of a Band D charge. 20

Option 10 To remove Second Adult Reduction from the scheme. 22

Option 11 To remove the Work Related Activity component in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction.. 24

Option 12 To limit the number of dependant children within the calculation for Council Tax Reduction to a maximum of two.. 26

Option 13 To introduce a scheme, in addition to Council Tax Reduction, to help applicants suffering exceptional hardship. 28

Ranking the Options. 30

Survey Demographics and Applied Weighting.. 31

Appendix A – Unweighted Results. 32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Headline Results

 

% Agreeing with Option

Rank of Preferable Option[1]

Option 1 -  Reducing the maximum level of support for working age applicants from 87% to 80%

60.7%

8.38

Option 2 - Removing the Family Premium for all new working age applicants

50%

6.55

Option 3 - Reducing backdating to one month

75.0%

8.77

Option 4 - Using a set income for self-employed earners after one year's self-employment

51%

6.08

Option 5 - Reducing the period for which a person can be absent from Great Britain and still receive Council Tax Reduction to four weeks

83%

9.25

Option 6 - Reducing the capital limit from the existing £16,000 to £6,000

60.6%

7.34

Option 7 - Introducing  a standard level of non-dependant deduction of £10 for all claimants who have non dependants resident with them

71%

6.86

Option 8 - Taking any Child Maintenance paid to a claimant or partner into account in full in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction

54%

6.56

Option 9 - Restricting the maximum level of Council Tax Reduction payable to the equivalent of a Band D charge

57%

6.50

Option 10 - Removing Second Adult Reduction from the scheme

61.3%

6.53

Option 11 - Removing the work related activity component in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction

58%

5.30

Option 12 - Limiting the number of dependent children within the calculation for Council Tax Reduction to a maximum of two

73%

7.58

Option 13 - Introducing a scheme, in addition to Council Tax Reduction, to help applicants suffering exceptional hardship

74.8%

7.71

 


 

Methodology

Maidstone Borough Council undertook a consultation on its proposed changes to council tax reduction between 1 July and 24 August 2016. A copy of the survey is available at Appendix B.

 

The survey was carried out online, with a direct email to approximately 9,000 Council Tax payees who had signed up for e-billing and was promoted on the Council’s website, social media and in the local newspaper. Paper copies were available in the Gateway and on request. An additional 150 paper surveys were sent via direct mail to residents aged 75 years and over (who are less likely to engage with us online), and a reminder email was sent to 230 payees aged 18 to 24 years to boost the responses from these groups.

 

The survey was open to all Maidstone borough residents aged 18 years and over (i.e. people who pay council tax or receive council tax reduction. Data has been weighted according to the known population profile to counteract non-response bias.

 

A total of 1471 people responded to the questionnaire.  This report discusses the weighted results; however unweighted results are shown at appendix B for reference. Please note not every respondent answered every question therefore the total number of respondents refers to the number of respondents for the question being discussed not to the survey overall. 

The survey had a low response from respondents aged 18 to 24 so this group was significantly under-represented and whilst the results have been weighted to take into account some of the variation in respondents compared to the borough population,  these results should be treated with caution. Other areas that should be treated with caution due to low number of responses are people from BME backgrounds and Ethnicity: Other respondents, though these will only be weighted if age and sex details were provided and are not weighted as a separate variable. These results are shown in this report, however they are not referred to in the commentary due to the low level of statistical validity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Option 1 - Reducing the maximum level of support for working age applicants from 87% to 80%                               

Text Box: The majority of respondents to the survey are in favour of option 1 – reducing the maximum level of support for working age applicants from 87% to 80%. 
Respondents with a disability had the lowest level of agreement with this option at 42%, a 22% difference compared to the responses of the non-disabled. 
Respondents receiving Council Tax reduction had the second lowest levels of agreement at 43%; there is a 32% difference between this group and those who do not receive Council Tax Reduction. 
The comments in relation to this option show concern for people on low income, suggest that there reduction amount is too high or too low and suggest phasing down the reduction.  
 
                                                                                             

 


 

Option 2 Removing the Family Premium for all new working age applicants     

Text Box: Overall, 50% of respondents were in favour of option 2 removing the family premium for all new working age applicants. When this is analysed  by respondent type it shows that for some groups there is no clear majority of respondents agreeing with this option. 
Respondents receiving Council Tax reduction have the lowest level of agreement at 39%. This is a 22% difference compared to those who do not receive this reduction.
Women and those with a disability also had at least 20% respondents answering ‘don’t know’. 
The comments show support for bringing the scheme in line

Text Box: with other benefits however there is a concern people with children are being penalised, in particular single parents and those with larger families struggling financially. Women are more likely to be single parents than men so this may explain the difference in levels of agreement between these two groups.
 

 



 

Option 3 Reducing backdating to one month                                           

Text Box: The majority of respondents are in favour of option 3, with three out of every four respondents agreeing with the proposed change. 
With the exception of the 18 to 24 year olds, who are mentioned in the methodology section, there was support for this option across groupings. 
Respondents with a disability and those aged 75 years and over have slightly lower levels of agreement at 62%. The comments show concern for vulnerable people having the assistance they need to complete the paperwork. 
Other comments express surprise that currently claims can be backdated for up to six months, with some stating if people need assistance they would apply for it sooner.


 

Text Box: Just over half of respondents were in favour of option 4, using a set income for self-employed earners after one year’s self-employment. 
Respondents with a disability and those aged 25 to 34 years had low levels of agreement with this option when compared to the rest of their groupings. 
Comments in relation to this option express concern that this option does not allow new starter businesses to grow and that self-employed people will often work longer hours to earn a basic income. There were also comments around national incentives to encourage entrepreneurship which could explain the lower levels of agreement from the 25 to 34 years age group.  
Option 4 using a set income for self-employed earners after one year’s self-employment


 

Option 5 Reducing the period for which a person can be absent from Great Britain and still receive Council Tax Reduction to four weeks

Text Box: The majority of respondents are in favour of option 5 – reducing the period for which a person can be absent from Great Britain and still receive Council Tax Reduction to four weeks, with over four out of five  respondents agreeing with the proposed change. 
 While the comments are mostly positive about this option there is some concern that this could unfairly impact on certain occupations such as the army.

 

 


 

Option 6 Reduce the capital limit from the existing £16,000 to £6,000

Text Box: The majority of respondents are in favour of option 6 – reduce the capital limit from the existing £16,000 to £6,000. 
Respondents aged 75 years and over have the lowest levels of agreement with the option at 44%. It is possible that this group are concerned about leaving inheritance and savings they may have for end of life or after life care.
The comments in relation to this option are generally supportive though some have suggested that £10,000 would be a more appropriate limit and that this option discourages savers.
 



 

 


 

Option 7 To introduce a standard level of non-dependant deduction of £10 for all claimants who have non dependants resident with them

Text Box: The majority of respondents are in favour of option 7 – to introduce a standard level of non-dependant deduction of £10 for all claimants who have non dependant’s resident with them, with 71% supporting this option. 
Respondents that are disabled and/or receive Council Tax Reduction had the lowest levels of agreement at 60% and 61% respectively. Respondents with a disability may be concerned about arrangements for carers living in. 
The comments show concern for people who are disabled or in education, while others see this option as incentivising work. There also appears to be some confusion on how this impacts on students who stay at home.


 

Option 8 To take any Child Maintenance paid to a claimant or partner into account in full in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction

Text Box: Overall, 54% of respondents are in favour of option 8 – to take any Child Maintenance paid to a claimant or partner into account in full in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction. 
There are some significant variations between groupings.  Council Tax reduction recipients have the lowest levels of agreement at 44%, followed by women and respondents with a disability that both had agreement levels of 46%. As women are more likely to be single parents this probably accounts for the lower levels of agreement from this group. 
The comments show concern for single parents and some state that this money is intended for the children. However, other comments support all household income being taken into account in the calculation of benefits.

 

 


 

Text Box: Overall, 57% of respondents are in favour of option 9 – to restrict the maximum level of Council Tax Reduction payable to the equivalent of a Band D charge. 
Current Council Tax reduction recipients had the lowest levels of agreement with this option at 48%; with almost 1 in 5 people in this group responding ‘Don’t know’ there may be confusion about how this will work in practice.
Respondents with a disability had the second lowest levels of agreement with this option at 50%. It is possible some disabled people may be occupying larger properties to accommodate carers and or equipment.   
The 65 to 74 year old age group had the highest levels of agreement with this option out of all the groupings. 


 


Option 9 To restrict the maximum level of Council Tax Reduction payable to the equivalent of a Band D charge



 

Option 10 To remove Second Adult Reduction from the scheme

Text Box: The majority of respondents (61%) are in favour of option 10 – to remove the Second Adult Reduction from the scheme. However, this trend is not reflected across all groupings. 
Respondents with a disability had the lowest levels of agreement at 49%; there is a 14% difference in levels of agreement between respondents with a disability and respondents without. It is possible that there is some concern from the group in relation to arrangement for carers who may reside in the property as second adults and may have low incomes. 
Council Tax reduction Recipients also had low levels of agreement and there was a 15% difference between levels of agreement for this group and respondents who do not receive council tax reduction. It is likely that some of these people will currently be receiving this reduction.
 


                                                                                             

 


 

Text Box: Overall, 57% of respondents are in favour of option 11 – to remove the Work Related Activity component in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction. 
Disabled respondents had the lowest levels of agreement with this option at 43%, and there is an 18% difference in agreement between this group and respondents without a disability. 
Respondents age 75 years and over also had lower levels of agreement with this option when compared to the other groupings and there is a 21% difference between this group and the age group with the highest agreement level (65 to 74 years). 
In addition there is an 18% difference in the levels of agreement between Council Tax reduction recipients and those who do not receive this benefit. 




Option 11 To remove the Work Related Activity component in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction

 


 

Option 12 To limit the number of dependant children within the calculation for Council Tax Reduction to a maximum of two

Text Box: The majority of respondents were in favour of option 12 – to limit the number of dependant children within the calculation of Council Tax Reduction to a maximum of two.  This is the case across all groupings. 
Respondents 75 years and over and those with a disability have slightly lower levels of agreement but the majority of respondents in these groups are in favour of this option. 
The 18 to 24 years old group also had a significantly lower level of agreement with this option compared to the other age group but these results should be treated with caution as this group was under represented and therefore have been heavily weighted.

 


 

Option 13 To introduce a scheme, in addition to Council Tax Reduction, to help applicants suffering exceptional hardship

Text Box: Overall, three out four respondents are in favour of option 13 – to introduce a scheme, in addition to Council Tax Reduction, to help applicants suffering exceptional hardship. 
The 25 to 34 year old group have the lowest levels of agreement at 67%. There is a difference of 17% between the age group with the greatest level of agreement and this group.

 

 


 

Ranking the Options

In addition to asking respondents specifically about each option the questionnaire also asked respondents to rank the options in terms of preference where 1 was the most preferable option and 13 was the least preferred option.  To assess which options were most preferable a weighted average calculation has been used.

The table shows the results of the ranking question compared against the levels of agreement with each option as shown in this report.   Option 5 was the highest ranked in terms of preferred options, the table shows that this option also had the greatest proportion of respondent agreeing with this as a proposed change to the scheme.

Option 2 had the second greatest proportion of respondents agreeing and came out second most preferable option in the ranking question.

Option 13 had the third greatest proportion of respondents agreeing with this option. However when ranked for preference it dropped to fourth, while option 1 was sixth for levels of agreement but third preferred option.

Option 4 had low levels of agreement and was also came out as low preference, ranked 12th for both.

Average

Average ranked

% Agreeing

% Agreeing ranked

Option 5 - Reducing the period for which a person can be absent from Great Britain and still receive Council Tax Reduction to four weeks

9.25

1

83%

1

Option 3 - Reducing backdating to one month

8.77

2

75.0%

2

Option 1 -  Reducing the maximum level of support for working age applicants from 87% to 80%

8.38

3

60.7%

6

Option 13 - Introducing a scheme, in addition to Council Tax Reduction, to help applicants suffering exceptional hardship

7.71

4

74.8%

3

Option 12 - Limiting the number of dependant children within the calculation for Council Tax Reduction to a maximum of two

7.58

5

73%

4

Option 6 - Reducing the capital limit from the existing £16,000 to £6,000

7.34

6

60.6%

7

Option 7 - Introducing a standard level of non-dependant deduction of £10 for all claimants who have non dependants resident with them

6.86

7

71%

5

Option 8 - To take any Child Maintenance paid to a claimant or partner into account in full in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction

6.56

8

54%

11

Option 2 - Removing the Family Premium for all new working age applicants

6.55

9

50%

13

Option 10 - To remove Second Adult Reduction from the scheme

6.53

10

61.3%

8

Option 9 - To restrict the maximum level of Council Tax Reduction payable to the equivalent of a Band D charge

6.50

11

57%

10

Option 4 - Using a set income for self-employed earners after one year's self-employment

6.08

12

51%

12

Option 11 - To remove the work related activity component in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction

5.30

13

58%

9

Survey Demographics and Applied Weighting

Unweighted[2]

Text Box: The table to the left shows the profile of the survey respondents in relation to the population of Maidstone.
This table shows that people aged 24 years and under and those aged 75 and over are unrepresented. It also shows that those respondents between 35 and 64 years are fractionally over represented. 
The results in this report have been weighted by age and sex and therefore some of this variance has been accounted for. 
Population

Count

%

Count

%

Gender (Over 18s 2011 Census)

Men

450

48%

         59,049

49%

Women

496

52%

         62,410

51%

Age (2011 Census)

18 to 24 years

27

3%

12,001

10%

25 to 34 years

164

17%

19,223

16%

35 to 44 years

194

21%

22,122

18%

45 to 54 years

208

22%

22,152

18%

55 to 64 years

182

19%

19,447

16%

65 to 74 years

114

12%

14,269

12%

75 years and over

52

6%

12,245

10%

Ethnicity (2011 Census 16 years and over)

White groups

870

95%

145,996

94%

BME

50

5%

9,147

6%

Disability (2011 Census all people)

Disability

138

15%

24,505

16%

No Disability

791

85%

130,638

84%

Council Tax Benefit Recipient

Receives benefit

371

38%

 

 

No CT Benefit

558

57%

 

 

Not Sure & N/A

43

4%

 

 

 

Age

Population

Survey

Weighting Applied

Males

%

Males

%

18 to 24 years

6,300

5%

7

1%

6.88

25 to 34 years

9,319

8%

62

7%

1.15

35 to 44 years

10,879

9%

88

9%

0.94

45 to 64 years

11,163

9%

94

10%

0.91

55 to 64 years

9,534

8%

95

10%

0.77

65 to 74 years

6,955

6%

79

9%

0.67

75 years and over

4,899

4%

19

2%

1.97

 

Females

%

Females

%

Weighting Applied

18 to 24 years

5,701

5%

20

2%

2.18

25 to 34 years

9,904

8%

100

11%

0.76

35 to 44 years

11,243

9%

102

11%

0.84

45 to 64 years

10,989

9%

112

12%

0.75

55 to 64 years

9,913

8%

84

9%

0.90

65 to 74 years

7,314

6%

34

4%

1.64

75 years and over

7,346

6%

32

3%

1.75

 

Appendix A – Unweighted Results

 

1. I have read the background information about the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (this question must be answered before continuing).

2. Should the Council continue to fund and operate the Council Tax Reduction Scheme as we do now?

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

98.5%

1449

Yes

51.8%

663

No

1.5%

22

No

33.8%

433

answered question

1471

Don't know

14.4%

185

skipped question

0

answered question

1281

skipped question

190

 

Option 1

Option 2

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

59.0%

706

Yes

50.8%

586

No

32.7%

392

No

35.2%

406

Don't know

8.3%

99

Don't know

14.0%

161

answered question

1197

answered question

1153

skipped question

274

skipped question

318

 

Option 3

Option 4

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

76.2%

863

Yes

50.2%

557

No

16.4%

186

No

31.7%

351

Don't know

7.3%

83

Don't know

18.1%

201

answered question

1132

answered question

1109

skipped question

339

skipped question

362

 

Option 5

Option 6

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

82.0%

908

Yes

58.8%

644

No

10.9%

121

No

33.5%

367

Don't know

7.0%

78

Don't know

7.8%

85

answered question

1107

answered question

1096

skipped question

364

skipped question

375

 

Option 7

Option 8

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

70.6%

766

Yes

55.7%

602

No

16.9%

183

No

34.5%

373

Don't know

12.5%

136

Don't know

9.7%

105

answered question

1085

answered question

1080

skipped question

386

skipped question

391

 

Option 9

Option 10

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

56.5%

602

Yes

60.2%

641

No

29.0%

309

No

28.1%

299

Don't know

14.5%

154

Don't know

11.7%

124

answered question

1065

answered question

1064

skipped question

406

skipped question

407

 

Option 11

Option 12

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

55.9%

591

Yes

74.9%

793

No

16.1%

170

No

17.8%

189

Don't know

28.1%

297

Don't know

7.3%

77

answered question

1058

answered question

1059

skipped question

413

skipped question

412

 

Option 13

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

73.7%

775

No

17.3%

182

Don't know

8.9%

94

answered question

1051

skipped question

420

 

30. Thinking about impact on claimants and the impact from the reduction in funding for the Council, say what you think would be most preferable by writing a number from 1 – 13 in the boxes below, where 1 is the option that is most preferable and 13 is the least.

Answer Options

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

Rating Average

Response Count

Option 1

200

59

28

32

43

35

32

24

34

33

34

38

73

8.31

665

Option 2

16

44

50

45

57

42

59

54

55

71

47

68

36

6.51

644

Option 3

87

105

91

60

42

56

32

46

24

27

24

28

23

8.83

645

Option 4

17

34

27

62

51

48

58

50

62

57

66

42

67

6.21

641

Option 5

86

100

117

59

59

35

37

30

32

24

26

23

9

9.16

637

Option 6

50

69

61

55

53

62

37

35

31

45

47

53

61

7.26

659

Option 7

7

24

42

53

61

80

98

58

73

56

47

33

22

6.75

654

Option 8

26

40

62

53

63

43

54

81

34

43

38

57

75

6.65

669

Option 9

22

31

37

63

62

52

53

57

71

65

59

57

40

6.47

669

Option 10

18

32

43

53

68

49

57

72

69

74

57

42

43

6.49

677

Option 11

5

17

20

29

43

62

56

58

79

86

101

73

72

5.22

701

Option 12

93

65

79

58

45

63

46

37

33

32

40

48

65

7.76

704

Option 13

180

62

46

39

32

40

48

35

25

45

31

57

127

7.53

767

answered question

857

skipped question

614

 

31. Do you think we should choose any of the following options rather than the proposed changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme? Please select one answer for each source of funding.

Answer Options

Yes

No

Don't know

Rating Average

Response Count

Increase the level of Council Tax

163

736

66

1.90

965

Find savings from cutting other Council services

378

474

106

1.72

958

Use Council's savings

438

391

122

1.67

951

answered question

985

skipped question

486

32. If the Council were to choose these other options to make savings, what would be your order of preference? Please rank in order of preference by writing a number from 1 – 3 in the boxes below, where 1 is the option that you would most prefer and 3 is the least.

Answer Options

1

2

3

Rating Average

Response Count

Increase the level of Council Tax

181

121

538

2.43

840

Reduce funding available for other Council services

258

393

195

1.93

846

Use the Council's savings

441

315

142

1.67

898

answered question

921

skipped question

550

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1] A higher figure indicates option is high preference.

[2] Rounding anomalies mean that these percentages may not add up exactly to 100%