Worried about council tax changes?
7:00am Saturday 9th February 2013 in News
With changes to council tax fast approaching, Camborne North Cornwall counciilor, Jude Robinson has collated information about how to apply for help.
Some people may face losing part of their housing benefit and having to pay a quarter of their council tax bill, after a recent Cornwall Council decision, however temporary help is available, says Mrs Robinson
There are several areas people will be able to contact Cornwall Council for additional assistance following the Welfare changes form April 2013. There is a discretionary housing payment (DHP) fund which has been in existence for a number of years but which has been boosted by Central Government to offset the changes they are implementing. For 2013/14 CC will have £867,795 to spend in this area which will cover shortfalls in rent, rent in advance and generally help to keep claimants in their properties.
However for 2013/14 the Government has also made specific reference to helping foster carers and disabled people affected by the under occupation regulations (bedroom tax as it is now commonly being referred to). These awards of DHP are usually on a short term basis in order to give the claimant time to alter their circumstances. Currently we are working on a new DHP policy to detail the changes in law and the Government’s intention on how it should be spent. It should be noted that from April DHP cannot be used to help someone pay their council tax.
The second and third area of funding that claimants can access deal specifically with the issue of localised council tax support. As you are aware Members voted to finance a £100K exceptional relief fund and a £1m transitional support scheme, both of which will assist those affected by CTS to pay their council tax in year one.
As this was a late decision from members a completely new scheme to administer these funds is having to be produced. A working group has met and a policy and procedure will be agreed over the next couple of weeks. A scheme with an associated application process will be in place and communicated out by the time council tax bills are sent on March 12. The forms will be made available at all one stop shops, libraries and on the internet.
The final area of funding available through Shared Services will be to those claiming a crisis or care award. There will be approximately £835K available to those who qualify for this funding, although again this is a brand new scheme and the finer details are still being worked on. A scheme will be in place and communicated by April 1.
Will the changes force you or your family to move, or cause you financial hardship? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or let us know below?