Have your say. . .

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Thursday 30th June 2016 9:08 am
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TORRIDGE District Council is asking residents to have their say on the Council Tax Support Scheme during a two-month consultation.

Each year Devon councils are required to review how much reduction in council tax is given to people of working age on low income and publish this in a Council Tax Reduction Scheme (also known as Council Tax Support). Torridge is working with other Devon councils to consider changes to its schemes from April 1, 2017, and wants people to give their views about these proposed changes. This year, Torridge Dicstrict council is proposing to make eight changes to bring the scheme into line with the changes being made by central government in housing benefit and universal credit. The Government changes are aimed at encouraging people to work and reducing the levels of benefit available to some. There is also a desire by Torridge to make the scheme easier to understand and administer.

The main proposed changes are the removal of a family premium for new claims — this is normally awarded at the rate of £17.45 per week when a claimant has at least one dependent child living with them; reducing any backdating of claims from a maximum of up to six months currently to one month; minimum income assessment — self employed people will be considered to be earning at least the minimum working wage or the national living wage based on a 35-hour working week and reducing the period for which a person can be absent from Great Britain and still receive support from 13 weeks to four weeks.

Councillor David Hurley, lead member for customer services, said: ‘There is need for the council to consider changes to the current scheme, not least because of national changes in benefits and how these are paid. However, we also recognise that we have a duty to protect the more vulnerable in our society and we want to make sure that we consider all views before we make any decisions. We hope people will take up this opportunity to tell us what they think about the proposals.’

The council is running a consultation from now until September 4. For more information visit www.torridge.gov.uk/consultations

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