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Changes to council tax benefit

The Government is scrapping Council Tax Benefit from April next year.

Every local authority in the country has been instructed to develop local replacement Council Tax Support schemes with significantly reduced Government funding.

Government funding will be reduced by at least 10%. In Knowsley, that means the council have to develop a new scheme with up to £3 million less than they currently receive. This comes on top of other funding cuts imposed by the Government. Over the last two years, Knowsley Council have had to cut spending by over £30 million and they need to find up to £37 million more savings over the next three years.

As a result, they have some incredibly difficult decisions to take about the level of financial support that they will be able to provide under their local Council Tax Support Scheme.

As part of the process of developing a new, fair scheme for Knowsley, the council want to hear your views.

Who is currently entitled to receive Council Tax Benefit?

People on low or no incomes can claim Council Tax Benefit to help them pay the Council Tax on the home that they live in. Council Tax Benefit is a national scheme, so the Government sets the rules about who can claim it and how much can be paid.

Will I be affected by these changes?

Under the Government’s reform, pensioner households are the only group of residents who will be protected from any reduction in Council Tax Benefit as a result of the introduction of local Council Tax Support schemes.

The Government’s decision means that all other residents who currently receive Council Tax Benefit will be affected.

How will Knowlsey Council decide how much more I should pay?

This is the most difficult aspect of developing the new scheme. Knowsley Council want to be able to carry on supporting as many Knowsley residents as possible, but they are restricted by the Government’s funding cuts and its rules on what parts can be changed.

How do I find out more about Knowsley’s new scheme?

You can view the new scheme proposals here

The Council really want to hear what you think about it and you can tell them your views until 9 November 2012. You can have your say in the following ways: