(Appendix 4 to follow)
Purpose of Report
To review consultation responses and give consideration to a ‘no change’ scheme for the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for the financial year 2020/21, as well as proposals made in relation to an Exceptional Hardship Scheme, also regarding Council Tax changes.
That Council be recommended to:
(1) Review consultation responses relating to the Localised Council Tax Support Scheme for 2020/21.
(2) Approve a proposed ‘no change’ Council Tax Support Scheme for 2020/21 as set out in section 4 of the report.
(3) Approve continuation of the £20,000 Exceptional Hardship Fund for 2020/21 to top up Council Tax Support awards in appropriate cases.
(4) Approve Council Tax changes for 2020/21, being:
- Care Leavers: 100% Council Tax exemption being extended up to their 25th birthday;
- Council Tax empty homes premium: for any property empty between five and ten years to receive a premium of 200% (giving a total Council Tax charge of up to 300%), but subject to criteria as outlined in Appendix 3 of the report.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Reason for Decision
Based on the current core elements of the existing scheme, a caseload reduction of 1% had been modelled along with an increase in Council Tax ranging from 2% to 4%. These were summarised in Appendix 1, giving an indication of the potential cost and savings to the City Council.
As a billing authority, the Council could decide whether or not to amend core elements of its scheme each year. Officers were not proposing any changes to the core elements of the scheme as part of this report. In developing the modelling for each of the Council Tax Support Scheme options a number of assumptions had been made, as set out in paragraph 4.3 of the report.
Alongside a proposed ‘no change’ Council Tax Support Scheme for 2020/21, it was also suggested that £20,000 for an Exceptional Hardship Scheme continued. Exceptional Hardship Payments assisted persons who had applied for Council Tax Support and who were facing ‘exceptional hardship’.
Details regarding the care leavers Council Tax exemption and Council Tax empty homes premium were set out in paragraphs 5.1 and 5.2 of the report respectively.
The outcome to the consultation undertaken from 30 October 2019 to 14 January 2020 was set out in Appendix 2 of the report, together with responses from Lincolnshire County Council and the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner at Appendices 5 and 6 respectively.
This report had been considered by the Policy Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 14 January 2020 which supported the recommendations contained within.