New council tax reduction scheme aims to protect Bournemouth’s most needy

Bournemouth Echo: LEADER: John Beesley LEADER: John Beesley

PEOPLE receiving council tax benefit in Bournemouth could soon be hit by changes to the system, with councillors set to consider a new scheme on Wednesday.

A report going to Bournemouth’s cabinet asks members to adopt a new Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme to replace the outgoing scheme of council tax benefit.

From April this year councils across the country will have to run their own tax support scheme, with 10 per cent less funding than the current national system.

Bournemouth’s new system, which is designed to protect pensioners and the most vulnerable including carers and the severely disabled, will see most working age residents who qualify for support required to pay a minimum of 20 per cent contribution to their council tax.

But in order to try and mitigate the impact on the hardest-hit, councillors will also be asked to approve the creation and funding of a new Local Welfare Assistance Fund providing financial assistance to those who suffer most as a result of the changes.

The £746,000 fund is to help those worst off as well as people previously eligible for Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants.

During a public consultation on the issue last year, 76 per cent of non-claimants thought the cost of the changes should not be passed onto council tax payers or result in cuts to other services.

Council leader John Beesley said: “The government has given us a real challenge by transferring responsibility to local councils to deliver a suitable scheme while reducing their funding by ten per cent overall.

“This is a complicated issue and we have had to take some difficult decisions in coming up with a proposed scheme.

“We know that this imposed change by government will have a significant detrimental impact on some Bournemouth residents.

“To help mitigate that, consideration is now being given on how the council might fund and operate a Local Welfare Assistance Fund to best support those most in need in our Bournemouth community. The government will not be supporting this with additional funding but we believe that it is the right thing to do in these difficult times.”

In December councillors rejected a government offer of a subsidy grant, as it would have left them with a significant funding gap of £514,000.

Residents who claim council tax benefit will be sent information on how much they are required to pay in March 2013.

Comments (6)

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12:44pm Thu 10 Jan 13

step up says...

£514,000 gap? No Chief Executive and Mayor would counter balance £200k plus of this. We are a one horse town...get over yourselves and spend scarce resources where morallly and statutorily required...
£514,000 gap? No Chief Executive and Mayor would counter balance £200k plus of this. We are a one horse town...get over yourselves and spend scarce resources where morallly and statutorily required... step up
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Thu 10 Jan 13

l'anglais says...

Council tax only contributes 25% to the overall Council budget.

So what right do these local upstarts have in making decisions concerning money from the national pot.

It's about time the tax making Home Counties declared independence from
tax taking provincial back waters.
Council tax only contributes 25% to the overall Council budget. So what right do these local upstarts have in making decisions concerning money from the national pot. It's about time the tax making Home Counties declared independence from tax taking provincial back waters. l'anglais
  • Score: 0

3:03pm Thu 10 Jan 13

BmthNewshound says...

"Bournemouth’s new system, which is designed to protect pensioners" - with Bournemouths demographic this is likely to be very costly.
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There appears to be an assumption that even wealthy pensioners have to be financially protected whereas families on low incomes are left to fend for themselves.
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It seems that the Tory mantra of "We're all in this together" doesn't apply to the over 60's.
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These changes will inevitably lead to higher council tax bills once the transitional funding to soften the blow of reduced government funding come to an end.
"Bournemouth’s new system, which is designed to protect pensioners" - with Bournemouths demographic this is likely to be very costly. . There appears to be an assumption that even wealthy pensioners have to be financially protected whereas families on low incomes are left to fend for themselves. . It seems that the Tory mantra of "We're all in this together" doesn't apply to the over 60's. . These changes will inevitably lead to higher council tax bills once the transitional funding to soften the blow of reduced government funding come to an end. BmthNewshound
  • Score: 0

4:41pm Thu 10 Jan 13

EGHH says...

Council Tax benefit is hard to get anyway, so its going to hit the poorest of the workers yet again. The reason they won't touch the pensioners is they are the ones who vote and in this area its more than likely they'll vote Tory.
Council Tax benefit is hard to get anyway, so its going to hit the poorest of the workers yet again. The reason they won't touch the pensioners is they are the ones who vote and in this area its more than likely they'll vote Tory. EGHH
  • Score: 0

7:57am Fri 11 Jan 13

Lord Spring says...

EGHH wrote:
Council Tax benefit is hard to get anyway, so its going to hit the poorest of the workers yet again. The reason they won't touch the pensioners is they are the ones who vote and in this area its more than likely they'll vote Tory.
The reason they wont touch the pensioners is probably because the are paying a higher percentage of their income than others in Council Tax.
[quote][p][bold]EGHH[/bold] wrote: Council Tax benefit is hard to get anyway, so its going to hit the poorest of the workers yet again. The reason they won't touch the pensioners is they are the ones who vote and in this area its more than likely they'll vote Tory.[/p][/quote]The reason they wont touch the pensioners is probably because the are paying a higher percentage of their income than others in Council Tax. Lord Spring
  • Score: 0

8:23am Fri 11 Jan 13

Baywolf says...

Lord Spring wrote:
EGHH wrote:
Council Tax benefit is hard to get anyway, so its going to hit the poorest of the workers yet again. The reason they won't touch the pensioners is they are the ones who vote and in this area its more than likely they'll vote Tory.
The reason they wont touch the pensioners is probably because the are paying a higher percentage of their income than others in Council Tax.
Yes but low paid workers don't get free tv licenses or free bus travel or access to pensions and other welfare benefits the elderly have access to. Not that I am saying the elderly should not receive these but lone workers on low pay are taking a hit yet again.
[quote][p][bold]Lord Spring[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]EGHH[/bold] wrote: Council Tax benefit is hard to get anyway, so its going to hit the poorest of the workers yet again. The reason they won't touch the pensioners is they are the ones who vote and in this area its more than likely they'll vote Tory.[/p][/quote]The reason they wont touch the pensioners is probably because the are paying a higher percentage of their income than others in Council Tax.[/p][/quote]Yes but low paid workers don't get free tv licenses or free bus travel or access to pensions and other welfare benefits the elderly have access to. Not that I am saying the elderly should not receive these but lone workers on low pay are taking a hit yet again. Baywolf
  • Score: 0

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