Wakefield councillors to make decision on future of council tax support scheme

Date: 13/10/2014

Councillors will decide whether to keep Wakefield's local Council Tax Support scheme in place, for another year, which supports thousands of adults on a low income.

Members of Wakefield Council's Cabinet will consider whether to retain the district's Council Tax Support Scheme during the 2015/16 financial year, when they meet on October 21.

The Government abolished the national Council Tax Benefit scheme in April 2013 and compelled councils to put in place their own arrangements, but with reduced funding available.

Currently as many as 31,000 people in Wakefield area receive help via the city's Council Tax Support scheme, which means they pay a reduced level of council tax because of personal circumstances, such as unemployment.

Cllr Graham Stokes, Cabinet Member for Corporate Performance, said: "We have one of the lowest rates of council tax in the country. We are committed as a council to the welfare and wellbeing of all residents, including those who need support to help with their Council Tax payments."

 "Members of the Cabinet will discuss keeping the rules of the scheme the same, to offer some stability for those citizens in an otherwise difficult financial environment."

Wakefield's local Council Tax Support scheme is based on the seven principles of not adding to the Council's budget gap.

These are that everyone should pay something, incentivising work, everyone in the household contributing, not paying benefits to people with relatively large capital or savings, the level of award should be determined by individual circumstances and the scheme should be simplified.