Residents views on council tax discount scheme again sought

COUNCIL TAX SURVEY: Bromsgrove residents views are being sought on a number of potential options for Local Council Tax Support. SP

COUNCIL TAX SURVEY: Bromsgrove residents views are being sought on a number of potential options for Local Council Tax Support. SP

First published in Local
Last updated

BROMSGROVE residents views are being sought on a number of potential options for Local Council Tax Support (LCTS), after a suspended consultation was restarted.

LCTS replaced Council Tax Benefit on April 1, as part of major changes to the welfare benefits system.

LCTS is now determined by local councils, focussing more on those of working age as well as protecting pensioners.

Bromsgrove District Council has not changed entitlement for two financial years, having funded council tax support to the same level as the previous benefits scheme.

However, funding for the scheme has reduced each year and the council say it is being forced to consider options for change, following the consultation now underway.

The move to restart the consultation comes after chaotic scenes at a full council meeting in July, when Labour councillor Luke Mallett pointed out that any decision to hold the survey should have been made at the full council, as the sovereign body, instead of just the cabinet.

An extraordinary meeting of the authority had to be held on Wednesday, August 20, where it was agreed to put the item out to public consultation.

The total cost of the abortive consultation and discussion on the issue, and way forward, has been estimated by the authority as being £9,570.

Cllr Mallett told the Advertiser that it seemed ludicrous, taxpayers money had been "wasted on a botched consultation", that should have gone to full council for determination in the first place.

He said: "It should have come to the council.

"The consultation is not even reaching the 1,700 people directly affected - instead the council is carrying out a random survey.

"Other councils would have spoke to those affected.

"Let's face it Bromsgrove District Council does not have a good track record on consultations, just look at the elected mayor and High Street consultations."

Leader of Bromsgrove District Council Margaret Sherrey said: “It is important that we hear from all residents, whether they receive discounts or not.

“We want as many people as possible to take part so we can gather their views which will help us to tailor the possible new scheme.

"We have to review it every year, whether we stick with the same system - as happened last year - or whether we change it.

"Sadly, if did not go to council."

The survey is available to complete online and paper copies are also available at the Customer Service Centre, in School Drive, for anyone wanting to give their feedback.

Copies of the form will also be posted to a random selection of addresses and anyone receiving one can post the form back to the council, or hand it in at the centre.

The survey can be found at surveymonkey.com/s/D3XSDB3.

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