New Council Tax Support scheme removes barriers to most vulnerable in the district

At last week’s full council meeting, Cotswold District Council adopted a new Council Tax Support (CTS) scheme for 2020/21 that will safeguard vulnerable groups and ensure those on the lowest income are protected.

Residents on lower incomes are set to be better off thanks to new changes to their Council Tax support and the introduction of a new banding scheme.

The new banding scheme addresses the need to have different bands for different households and therefore supports more residents, in particular disadvantaged groups such as lone parents.

The upper limit for savings when considering relief has also been increased to £10,000 from £6,000. The two-child limit has also been removed to ensure larger families have more disposable income.

Should a type of household income increase into another band, there will now be an eight-week period when the original rate of relief will still apply.

Cllr Mike Evemy, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “The results of our public consultation showed residents were in favour of these changes. We’re incredibly happy to be able to take the most disadvantaged residents of our district out of paying council tax. It’s vital that we ensure those on low incomes are protected and receive the maximum support to which they are entitled.

“We recognise that this is a challenging economic climate and we hope this will help the finances of those most in need.”

The Council worked closely with Cotswold Citizens Advice, who helped the Council make these welcome changes.

Mary Cobbett, Benefits Adviser at Cotswold Citizens Advice, said: “We are delighted CDC has taken this issue seriously and redesigned their CTS scheme to target those most financially vulnerable in our community.

“Council Tax Support is the highest underclaimed benefit nationally with over 50% of entitled residents failing to claim the benefit. The largest section of CTS under-claimants is working householders who are also homeowners. At Citizens Advice we are aware that householders who do not access the financial assistance that they are entitled to, have an increased risk of getting into debt. In 2019-20, the second-largest debt issue faced by our clients is Council Tax Arrears.”

At last week’s full council meeting, Cotswold District Council unanimously approved the new CTS scheme. The changes will come into effect from 1 April 2020.

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Cotswold District Council Communications Team