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Cornwall Council begins consultation on Council Tax Benefit

By mwill  |  Posted: September 22, 2012

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Cornwall Council has begun a period of consultation on Council Tax Benefit (CTB), which runs from 20 September to 12 November 2012.

As part of the Government's changes to the national benefits scheme, responsibility for CTB will be transferred to local authorities and Cornwall Council has to create its own Localised Council Tax Support (CTS) scheme. A new scheme will be introduced by 31 January 2013, so the Council is currently consulting on what form the scheme should take.

The Council has looked at a number of options and developed a draft proposal - called the preferred option - on which they want to hear people's views. This should give Council Tax payers the opportunity to help shape the scheme, when a report goes to Cornwall Council members at their meeting in December this year.

Unemployed would have to pay Council Tax

The Council's preferred option is that everyone of working age who receives Council tax benefit should pay at least 30% towards their council tax bill and therefore receive less council tax benefit, in order to make up for the reduction in Government grant. This would mean that even the unemployed could face a Council Tax bill of several hundred pounds a year, depending on their property band.

Pensioners unaffected

The Government has stated that pensioners must be protected from any reduction in council tax benefit, so the proposed changes will only affect those who are of working age.

Steve Double, Cornwall Council Cabinet member for Environment, Waste Management Policy and Shared Services said: "We appreciate that this is unwelcome news.  What we have to do is find the fairest way to deal with the situation handed to us by the coalition Government which will leave a £6m black hole in the council tax benefit budget. We want as many people as possible to give us their views on how we manage a situation which is not of this Council's making."

Survey Forms

Survey forms are currently being sent out to all people who currently receive CTB. Anyone else who would like to contribute to the consultation can do so on the consultation website.

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  • Big_Ger  |  September 25 2012, 9:12PM

    It may come as a surprise to some, but I also agree that houses which are kept exclusively for second home purposes should pay full council tax. Holiday homes which are available to the general public, all year round, should be taxed as businesses.

  • dee_2  |  September 25 2012, 8:10AM

    All of this should be seen against a background of rising food prices. Harvests in the UK have been badly hit by the weather this year while globally, especially in the USA, cereal harvests are verging on disaster. You cannot going building houses regardless of climatic changes and the cumulative loss of farmland. Sooner or later there will be a price to pay and whatever our leaders decide to do on the subject of council tax benefit will be irrelevant.

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  • Phil_lip  |  September 24 2012, 7:27PM

    Have to agree with the second/holiday homes thing, they should be charged full council tax first, try it for a year and see where shortfalls (if any) lie because the services in that area still need paying for and the binmen go past their house, the police patrol their streets and the like. Then look at other ways to bring in income from council tax such as a smaller %(say 10%) from people on benefits as with second/holiday homes paying full rates would mean not as much would be needed.

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  • D-Head  |  September 24 2012, 2:07PM

    This madness shows no sign of ending. Bankers and currency speculators rob the country blind and, once again, it's the overtaxed section in the middle who pick up the tab. If you've got something to lose, a house for example, then they'll be after it. Second homes should have their council tax at least doubled. If you can afford two or more homes you can afford to pay extra council tax. In the same vein, bringing more people into Cornwall (the 48,000 new homes debate) without there being any noticeable increase in job opportunities, is just asking for problems. Someone has to take conrol. The ConDems, as with Nu Liebour before them, have proved useless. Time for UKIP.

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  • Truro_England  |  September 24 2012, 12:19PM

    KJHXXX You are 100% right!! I have a lot of experience with helping the public with debt and this is what I feel will happen- Local councils will do more CCJ'S with An Attachment of Earnings Order if in work! and also attachment to property and a vehicle depending on the value. But for people not in work and only on benefits local Concils will and can take money from there benefits. you have to remember when business's seek a CCJ or an Attachment of Earnings Order other bills are not classed as high prioritise as your Council Tax...

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  • KJHXXX  |  September 24 2012, 1:28AM

    Well I've added my comments to the consultation and would appreciate if others could too. It's anonymous apart from the postcode. Some of the council's ideas make sense, but this 30% minimum payment is a scandal. Another kick in the face to a family struggling to survive on JSA when through no fault of their own they get laid off. Another 'out of touch' policy from an 'out of touch' council.

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  • Olly_Gark  |  September 23 2012, 9:22PM

    "The Council's preferred option is that everyone of working age who receives Council tax benefit should pay at least 30% towards their council tax bill" Whilst they continue with multiple layers of overpaid 'senior managers' and perks and expenses. If this lunacy goes ahead it will cause real hardship; this is an area of high unemployment. If people cannot pay will the council prosecute them? How will they be expected to pay any fines imposed out of benefits that have already been cut? Or are they to be imprisoned? Not in *my* name Cornwall Council, nor in the name of many others, I suspect.

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  • lance99  |  September 23 2012, 9:05PM

    Another preferred option to tax the poor! One option should be to ensure all empty homes pay at least the full rate of council tax and holiday homes should pay an extra 25-50% tax; surely fair? To reduce the income of the poorest is to take money out of the economy - we need a progressive tax system; not regressive.

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  • KJHXXX  |  September 23 2012, 6:53PM

    This would mean that even the unemployed could face a Council Tax bill of several hundred pounds a year This is outrageous and I urge everyone to make their objections well known. If you are unemployed and in receipt of benefits - which are means tested, you have LITTLE OR NO MONEY! So what do the council expect payment with? Buttons? Goodwill? What? What happens if they don't pay? CCJ's and a spiraling world or debt? Ridiculous.

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