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Council tax help set to continue
9:00am Wednesday 4th September 2013 in News
TEST Valley looks set to keep its financial support for unemployed and disabled residents of working age who became eligible for paying an element of council tax due to Government legislation.
The changes that came in during April restricted by 10 per cent the amount of Government support available to local councils to pay for these people, leaving the councils the option of levying a charge on them or making up the money in other ways.
In neighbouring Wiltshire the unemployed are forced to pay 20 per cent of their council tax bills but measures taken here mean that the council is not forced to impose a charge on the 3,000 people who might be eligible to pay.
The measures taken by Test Valley in April included the abolition of the 10 per cent discount on second homes and a premium of 50 per cent on council tax bills on properties empty for two years or more.
In a report to the council’s cabinet, finance portfolio holder Peter Giddings recommends keeping the current system in place this year while waiting for the completion of wider welfare reform changes.
He says administering a new scheme designed specifically to protect the disabled would be costly to administer.
“Based on the first two months of operation it seems that the new scheme can be funded by the changes to council tax discounts and exemptions alone,” said Cllr Giddings in his report.
“Given the current and future scale of welfare reform it is recommended that the current Council Tax Support scheme continues to be adopted for 2014/15 and 2015/16.”
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