Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Director of Resources submitted a report updating committee on the consultation exercise that had been conducted regarding changes proposed to the Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) scheme and asking them to consider next steps regarding potential changes to the scheme in time for the 2022/23 financial year.
She reminded committee that the LCTS scheme had replaced Council Tax Benefit in 2013/14 and was now paid as a discount against an individual’s council tax bill rather than a benefit. The Government had replaced the subsidy with a grant payable to Councils for the cost of LCTS, however they had reduced the amount from 100% to 90% and councils had either to absorb the reduction or meet it from reductions in council tax or elsewhere from within the council tax system.
Councils had been required to design their own LCTS system and consult with their residents and major preceptors regarding their proposals. At the start of the scheme we proposed to use £120k of council tax income raised on second homes to partially offset the shortfall and proposed the balance would be met by reducing the discount on second homes and applying a 12% reduction to working age claimants. However, the Government offered a one off transition grant if councils capped their reduction at 8.5% which we did for the first year in 2013/24 and thereafter raised it to 12%.
The Director of Resources informed committee that currently across Lancashire there were many varying levels of reductions with two local authorities currently having no reduction in support at all.
At the March 2021 Full Council meeting as part of the budget deliberations, it was considered that a piece of work should be carried out to explore the possibility of removing the 12% reduction in support for working age claimants, The Budget working group had considered this and recommended to this committee that the Council launch a consultation exercise to remove the 12% reduction thereby increasing support to these claimants.
The consultation exercise had run from 25 October to 5 December 2021 as an online survey with paper copies available.
All major preceptors had raised concerns about the proposed change and the impact it would have on the income they received. However, 91% of the 58 responses received to the online survey agreed that the 12% reduction should be removed.
RESOLVED THAT COMMITTEE:
Agree to alter that LCTS scheme for 2022/23 and remove the 12% reduction applied to working age claimants to bring them into line with pensioner age claimants.
(Councillor S Hirst left the meeting)
Publication date: 19/01/2022
Date of decision: 18/01/2022
Decided at meeting: 18/01/2022 - Policy and Finance