Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
Consideration was given to a report of the Director of Finance which set out the proposed Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2020/21.
Members were informed that there was a requirement to have a Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme to support residents who qualified for assistance in paying Council Tax. The Local Government Finance Act 2012 placed a requirement that each year a billing authority must consider whether to revise its Council Tax Reduction scheme or to replace it with another scheme. Any change to the 2020/21 scheme must be agreed by full Council in line with budget setting and no later than 10 March 2020. For Oldham, this required the Council to agree a revised 2020/21 scheme at the 26 February 2020 Council meeting. Any proposed change must be subject to prior consultation with the major preceptors and the public.
The Council’s current CTR scheme limited CTR to a maximum of 85% of Council Tax for a Band A property and removed second adult rebate for those of working age. Following a public consultation exercise in Autumn 2018, the scheme was amended from April 2019 to introduce a range of changes to the scheme largely aimed at supporting those CTR claimants who received Universal Credit (UC). These included the application of some earnings disregards and treatment of information received from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about UC as a claim for CTR.
As more working age Housing Benefit (HB) cases moved to UC, Local Authority CTR schemes were in transition, as the number of cases aligned to the HB model of assessment reduced and the number of UC cases aligned to the UC structure increased. It was therefore considered pragmatic to wait until
more cases had migrated to UC to introduce a fully revised CTR scheme which would appropriately link with the design of UC. This would avoid the administrative complexity of running two distinct working age CTR schemes concurrently and would mean that the CTR scheme would remain unchanged in 2020/21.
Option 1 - Maintain the present level of support i.e. limiting the level of support at 85% of the Council Tax for a Band A property.
Option 2 - Limit the maximum level of support from 2020/21 to 82.5%
Option 3 - Align the CTR scheme to reflect some of the changes made to Housing Benefit
Option 4 - Change the method of assessment for UC/CTR cases
RESOLVED – That the Cabinet approved and commended to the Council the proposed Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2020/21 which is unchanged from the 2019/20 scheme.
Publication date: 11/02/2020
Date of decision: 10/02/2020
Decided at meeting: 10/02/2020 - Cabinet
Effective from: 19/02/2020