Witney News - Residents asked for views on benefit changes

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Residents asked for views on benefit changes

Oxfordshire councils are asking residents for their views on a new scheme to help low income households with their council tax bill which would come into force during 2013.

As part of the Government’s welfare reforms the current council tax benefit scheme will no longer exist in its present form but will be replaced by a locally-run scheme, called the Council Tax Reduction scheme.

From 2013 funds provided by central government will be reduced by around 10%, but all the Oxfordshire district councils, Oxfordshire County Council and the Police Authority are working together to ensure that support provided will continue to protect all claimants in 2013/14 and, from April 2014 a scheme that will protect pensioners and the most vulnerable.

There will therefore be no impact for claimants, in 2013/14.

However from April 2014, Oxfordshire councils may need to make changes to the local scheme in order to meet the 10% grant reduction. Consultation on how this might be achieved is now underway.

Cllr Simon Hoare, Cabinet Member for Resources at West Oxfordshire District Council, said “Across the county there is a deficit of £3m to fund Council Tax Benefit and in West Oxfordshire alone we have 5,200 residents currently receiving the benefit, which means that an additional £484,000 per year needs to be found to maintain this current level of support.

“We are currently exploring a number of options that could help protect those most vulnerable and are interested in hearing residents’ views on how to achieve this. The District Council is also working together with all the local councils to take the same approach in setting up their own new schemes, which will help save time and money.”

The countywide consultation is open to all residents until 5 October 2012. The survey can be completed online at www.westoxon.gov.uk/consultations or requested from the Council by calling 01993 861000.

Posted : 23/08/2012 18:12:43

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