People in Corby, Kettering, East Northants and Wellingborough are being invited to have their say on proposed changes to the Local Council Tax Support Schemes (LCTSS).
The schemes, also known as Council Tax Reduction Schemes, provide a reduction for working-age people and households on low incomes, to help them pay their council tax bill. There are individual schemes in place for Corby, Kettering, East Northamptonshire and Wellingborough, which are administered by the councils in each area.
Each council currently offers a different level of support through their LCTSS scheme, but on 1 April 2021, there will be one new council for North Northamptonshire, replacing Northamptonshire County Council, Corby Borough Council, East Northamptonshire Council, Kettering Borough Council and the Borough Council of Wellingborough.
The formation of this new unitary Council means that the existing four schemes need to be brought together into one consistent scheme effective from April 2021, which offers the same level of Council Tax support, regardless of where in North Northamptonshire a resident lives.
Currently, the minimum Council Tax contribution that working age people must pay ranges from 8.5% to 45% across the four Councils. One proposal to bring the schemes together is for the minimum contribution to be set at 25% (therefore a maximum discount of 75%). There are also another six proposals outlined in the consultation document.
Views are sought on the proposed changes during an eight-week consultation period, beginning on Monday, 5th October.
Councillor Ian Jelley, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Revenues and Benefits for North Northamptonshire Shadow Authority, said: "From April 2021, the new North Northamptonshire Council must offer one fair and consistent scheme to all our residents, regardless of where they live.
"It is essential that the new council continues to support as many people as possible who need help to pay their council tax, but we have to ensure that the scheme is affordable.
"We have looked at the current schemes in place across the councils and have proposed some changes for the new scheme that harmonises what is already in place. "I would encourage anyone who is likely to be affected by the proposed changes to take part in the consultation. Responses will be analysed before a final scheme is presented to Shadow Executive in the New Year."
Those of pensionable age are protected by the prescribed regulations set out by central government therefore will not be affected by the changes proposed to the LCTSS in North Northamptonshire, and will continue to receive the same level of support that they have been used to getting from their current council.
Full details about the scheme, how the proposals were developed and the other options considered, along with the online consultation questionnaire, are available online.
The consultation runs from 5 October, until 30 November 2020 and the final scheme will be agreed by the North Shadow Executive Committee on 28 January 2021. All responses are anonymous and participants are not required to submit their name or address.