11:54AM, Friday 01 February 2013
The amount of help some people get to pay their council tax could be slashed under new a new government policy.
This means that despite the announcement of an overall decrease in council tax of three per cent in the Royal Borough, some bills may still rise.
The Council Tax Benefit system is being replaced with Council Tax Support, which is decided and funded by the council instead of central government.
Councils in England will pass on a 10 per cent benefit funding cut along with the change in policy.
Pensioners, who make up 50 per cent of the council tax benefit caseload in the Royal Borough, are protected from having their benefits slashed.
Effectively that means the amount available to support other claimants in the borough will be reduced by 20 per cent.
A statement from the council said that because of this, some people would face an increase for their council tax contributions.
It said: "Taking a balanced approach, the council has looked at opportunities to review second home and empty property discounts whilst adopting the government's default scheme which requires poorest families to contribute approx £100 per year to their council tax.
"In addition to pensioners, income sources such as child benefit, war pensions and disability living allowances have been excluded from the assessment process.
"This package of measures protects other council tax payers from the impact.
"It goes without saying that the recently announced council tax reduction also reduces the impact of this measure."
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