Last night I attended a breifing session in the Town Hall on the replacement of Council Tax benefit with Council Tax support.
There will still be a large number of people statutorally exampt from paying council tax, but as there will be a £4.4 million gap in funding, some new methods will have to used to raise the missing funds, such as lowering allowances, charging for empty properties and even making people pay a minimum contribution.
It was interesting to see the political split at the meeting, 8 Labour Councillors, (Myself, Barry Rawlings, Andreas Ioannides, Anne Hutton, Ansuya Sodha, Gill Sargeant, Claire Farrier and Charlie O'Macauley), Jack Cohen of the Lib Dems and just TWO Tories (out of 38!). Full credit to Barry Evangeli and Sury Khatri though.
The changes are not likely to be very ward specific, because poorer wards will have those on CTB because they are out of work, wealthier wards will have those on CTB because there are retirees.
The Council are consulting for less than two more weeks, you can make a submission here.
The timeline for implimentation is very rushed as well, not due to the Council, but due to the Government. It basically needs to be up an running by 1st April 2013, despite the bill requiring it not actually having been passed yet! If we do not come up with our own version, we will have to get the governement managed system.