A consultation has been launched in Lichfield and Burntwood over a new local council tax support scheme.

The proposals, which would be introduced from next April, are aimed at helping more people of working age in the district who are living on low incomes.

The scheme would see each applicant placed in an income band and their council tax support entitlement calculated accordingly.

The maximum discount for non-vulnerable working age households is currently 80%, but under the proposed changes some households would get a 100% discount instead.

There would be an exceptional hardship element to support those in need together with numerous other revisions to the existing scheme, including disregarding child benefit and carer’s allowance.

Applicants receiving income support, income related employment and support allowance and income-based jobseeker’s allowance would receive the full Band 1 discount. 

Lichfield District Council’s cabinet member for finance, Cllr Rob Strachan, said:

“We had become aware that our existing council tax support scheme was not meeting the needs of our most vulnerable residents and in some cases, was actually creating a separate problem of increasing council tax arrears that they could never expect to address.

“After a review of the scheme, it became clear that its scope could be expanded to offer complete relief for those in the greatest need, with other income from benefits disregarded to ensure that people who need the support most, can get it and are not trapped into debt.

“This scheme focusses on the ability to pay, simplifies the applications process for claimants, and should help the council to reach far more people than we had done previously. 

“It is important that we now gather views, not just from other public bodies but most importantly from the residents and claimants themselves, to make sure that we are bringing forward the best possible scheme for Lichfield district.

“That is why we are asking people to participate in this engagement exercise that we have launched.”

Cllr Rob Strachan, Lichfield District Council

While some households with higher incomes may receive less support, it is anticipated the majority of applicants will receive the same or an increased level of support.

People can give their views through the online consultation which runs until 16th October.

Physical copies of the consultation document are also available from the Lichfield District Council offices, with support also available to help those with disabilities complete the survey.

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