Have your say on Council Tax changes

Guardian News
Guardian News

Rotherham residents still have time to tell the council their views on a new discount Council Tax scheme being proposed for the borough.

Public consultation started last Monday on the new local Council Tax support scheme being proposed by the Rotherham Council in wake of the shake-up of the Government’s funding system, which will leave the authority with a multi-million pound shortfall.

From next April the Government will abolish the current national Council Tax Benefit scheme, which funds 100 per cent of Council Tax benefits.

During 2011/12 the council awarded some £22.8 million to 31,000 claimants, including 15,000 were pensioners.

But the national scheme is to be replaced by local ones to be set up by individual authorities, who will each receive a set figure as an annual grant.

Rotherham estimates that the government proposals could result in at least a £4.1 million funding shortfall.

Information about the changes is available online at www.rotherham.gov.uk or in a leaflet available at all Rotherham Council customer service centres.

Deputy leader Coun Jahangir Akhtar described the changes as ‘far-reaching’ and urged the public to make their views known.

“We are having to make these very big changes because by abolishing the current national Council Tax Benefit scheme the Government is leaving Rotherham with a huge shortfall,” he said.

“Obviously the changes could affect a great many people - Council Tax payers and working age claimants - as well as the Council itself. That is why we need to hear everyone’s views on our proposals.”

The authority has until the end of January to adopt a new local scheme.