Views sought on Council Tax Benefit changes

20 December 2012

Residents in Neath Port Talbot are being asked for their views in preparation for major changes to the Council Tax benefits system.

Councillor Alun Thomas

The Government in Westminster is devolving the responsibility for Council Tax benefit from the Department of Work & Pensions to the Welsh Government and local authorities. The Welsh Government has drawn up a scheme for councils across Wales to adopt, with limited a number of factors to be determined at a local level.

However as a result in a reduction in the funding being provided councils must also make savings of around 10% on previous years. The changes mean that there will no longer be full Council Tax Benefit awards in the future, and residents will have to fund any difference from their own pockets.

The new system requires all councils to develop a Council Tax Support Scheme to be implemented from the beginning of the new financial year in April 2013. As part of this process Neath Port Talbot Council is consulting on those elements which can be decided upon locally.

The issues addressed in the consultation include the back-dating of claims, the effect of war pensions on the level of claims and for how long a reduction can continue once a claimant has started work.

Neath Port Talbot Council Leader Cllr. Ali Thomas said: "The next few months will see an unprecedented amount of change in the benefits system, with households across the county borough affected. I would urge benefits recipients, and the many groups that work to support them, to take part in this consultation."

Copies of the consultation document are available from the One Stop Shops in Neath, Pontardawe and Port Talbot. The consultation is also available online at: http://neath-porttalbot-consult.limehouse.co.uk/public/fcs/council_tax/council_tax

The consultation closes on Friday 18th January 2013.

Further details on how residents may be affected by Welfare Reforms are available at: www.yourbenefitsarechanging.co.uk

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