Proposed changes to Babergh tax scheme may see poorest pay only 5 per cent of bill

Council tax bill
Council tax bill

A consultation on changes to Babergh District Council’s tax reduction scheme, which could see the least well-off people pay just five per cent of their bill, has begun.

The proposed changes, if implemented, could see the maximum discount for residents on the lowest incomes increase to 95 per cent of their council tax bill.

Babergh District Council says it is also aiming to align the tax reduction scheme with the current housing benefit system and the newly-rolled out Universal Credit, due to changes in how some residents receive financial support and changes to the application process over the last four recent years.

Cllr Peter Patrick, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “Our council tax reduction scheme can form a lifeline for residents in difficult circumstances.

“We need to make it as simple as possible. By aligning the criteria with our housing benefit scheme, we will make the scheme easier to understand and quicker to access.

“This, along with increasing our maximum reduction from 91.5 per cent to 95 per cent, will help our most vulnerable residents when they need it most, all at a cost of just £8,000 a year to Babergh.

“We want to make sure these are the right changes to help people, so I’d ask everyone to please take a look at these proposals and participate in our consultation, letting us know what you think.”

The consultation will run until Monday, November 27. Following its completion, a report will be produced and submitted at a full council meeting next month, recommending the final proposed changes go into effect on April 1, 2018.

People can submit their views on the council tax reduction scheme consultation by completing the survey at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/XBLHV5V.