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Council Tax Consultation

Dear Partner Organisation

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has a difficult financial situation to manage over the coming years and will have to make savings and increase income. Part of these savings could come from reducing the amount of financial help provided to residents on low income through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme. If these savings are not made the savings will have to be found from somewhere else.

This is a complex issue and the council needs to balance the need to find savings alongside the need to protect vulnerable residents. To help us achieve that balance it is important that we understand your views on possible changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme before any decision is made.

A more detailed explanation regarding the changes being considered and their impact is available here, I would recommend you this read before responding to the consultation. We have also undertaken an Equality Impact Assessment the details of which are available here.

Take part in the Consultation

This consultation opened 1 July 2016 and closes on 24 August 2016.

We are also consulting with the public on the possible changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme. If you have any customers, clients or employees that live in Tunbridge Wells, below is the link to the public consultation pages for circulation should you wish to do so.

Public Consultation

Thank you your help with this important decision. Any help that you can provide to raise awareness amongst your service users would also be greatly appreciated to ensure that we take account of as wider views as possible.

Kind Regards

Regards

Stephen McGinnes

Head of Revenues and Benefits
Mid Kent Revenues and Benefits


Why are the Council considering changes?


Prior to April 2013, Council Tax payers could apply for Council Tax Benefit (CTB) and receive up to 100% benefit. The Council received full funding from the Government for the benefit awarded.

Changes introduced by the Government abolished the Council Tax Benefit Scheme from 1 April 2013 and made Councils responsible for setting up their own local Council Tax Reduction schemes for working age people. The Government also reduced the amount of funding given to Councils to pay for the schemes. Since 2014/15 the amount of grant funding received from Government has continued to reduce each year and from 2017/2018 the council will not receive any grant.

The estimated cost of the Scheme for 2016/17 is approximately £8.8 million. The Council's share of this cost is around 15% in line with the split of Council Tax with the County Council, Police and Fire Service. The Council has a difficult financial situation to manage over the next 5 years and will have to reduce its overall spending by £4.1 million. Some of these savings could come from reducing the amount of help provided to residents through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.



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