A scheme that offers council tax discounts to Richmondshire residents looks set to be streamlined.
District councillors have approved a consultation which will seek views to on a plan to make the administration of the scheme clearer for applicants and cheaper for the authority.
It includes ways to reduce the number of bills issued so when a client’s income changes within a small margin a new bill would not be sent out; and to make the way in which self employed income is treated more transparent.
It is also looking to reduce the maximum amount of savings taken into consideration – by £10,000 to £6,000.
“The current scheme is complex to administer and costs the taxpayers more – we are sending new bills to customers every time there is a small change in income and we want to stop doing that,” said council leader, Councillor Angie Dale.
“If we don’t make these changes we will need to make savings from other services.”
Council tax reduction is a discount on council tax based on income – the maximum discount is set at 85 per cent for working age people and 100% for pensioners and war pensioners. These changes would only affect working age people.
Local residents and council tax reduction scheme clients will be asked to take part in a survey on the proposed changes – with views sought on five possible options which could be adopted together or in isolation:
- Increasing the weekly lower limit under which a new bill would not be produced
- Giving the discretion to suspend the minimum income floor when calculating self-employed income in exceptional circumstances
- Increasing the period that council tax reduction can be back dated
- Reducing the maximum savings limit to £6000
- Having the ability to adjust income disregards and allowances in exceptional circumstances
The survey is available on www.richmondshire.gov.uk/surveys/ctrs It must be completed by November 30.