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Local Council Tax Reduction (LCTR) Support scheme consultation underway

Local Council Tax Reduction (LCTR) Support scheme consultation underway
Published on 01 October 2021 Print

Following approval by Cabinet on 9 September, Walsall Council has launched an eight week consultation on the Local Council Tax Reduction (LCTR) Support scheme application process.

Council tax reduction is a discount that people on a low income can claim from the council to get help with paying their council tax. The council is now consulting on a draft proposal to introduce a new simplified process to apply for a discount award to replace the current benefit assessment.

This proposal seeks to simplify the process of applying for an award of LCTR for working-age households with the following key changes:

  • A discount rather than a complicated benefit calculation
  • An award based on household income and occupants
  • Fewer changes in the amount claimants have to pay because of small changes in their income
  • Helps those on low incomes manage their money and pay their council tax

Paper questionnaires have been sent to a random sample of 10,000 Council Tax payers to get their views on the proposals. 5,000 of the residents in the sample are current claimants and 5,000 do not receive a reduction. Questionnaires need to be completed and returned by 30 November 2021.

Councillor Adrian Andrew, Deputy Leader said, “I encourage residents that receive questionnaires about the proposed changes to the Local Council Tax Reduction (LCTR) Support scheme application process to make sure they complete the forms and return them before the deadline.”

“Even if you don’t receive a questionnaire in the post you can still view the proposals and comment online.”

“It is really important that we get your views which will be used to inform the final scheme that is implemented. Our overall aim is to make it a much simpler process for those entitled to apply for a reduction in their council tax and more efficient for the council to administer.”

Residents can find out more about the scheme and have their say on the council’s website.

Key stakeholders, including local housing associations, Walsall Citizen’s advice bureau and the Department for Work and Pensions Black Country Partnership are also being consulted on the proposed scheme.

The findings of the consultation will be reported to Cabinet and made available online in December 2021. Results will be used to inform the final decision as part of the council’s overall budget setting process in February 2022.

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • On 1 April 2013 a local council tax reduction scheme (LCTRS) replaced council tax benefit. New ways of calculating the reduction, developed and administered by local authorities, were introduced and this scheme has been modified by the council over recent years.
  • Details of the current scheme for Walsall is available on the council website: www.walsall.gov.uk/council_tax_benefit
  • Council tax reduction for people of pensionable age is set according to national rules which means all of their council tax is paid if they are on the lowest incomes and they will continue to be protected under future schemes.
  • Walsall Council is required to consult with local residents and other interested parties before making changes to the local council tax reduction scheme. No decision has yet been made about the scheme for 2022/23.