Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset Council will be replaced by Somerset West and Taunton Council in April 2019.
The new council will need its own Council Tax Support scheme that will be applied consistently for the whole area. On behalf of the new council, a consultation is being held on its Council Tax Support scheme for working-age council tax payers for eight weeks from 16 July 2018.
Council Tax Support (CTS) is a means-tested discount scheme to help council tax payers on a low income to pay their council tax.
Council Tax Support for pension age council tax payers remains protected which means they will not be affected by any changes. Pension-age applicants continue to receive up to 100% support.
Currently, about 10,000 households claim CTS, including pension-age applicants. Of these, approximately 5,300 are of working-age. The consultation will ask people to comment on a proposal to base the Council Tax Support scheme on the schemes currently used across both existing council areas.
Residents will also be asked for their views on options to increase or decrease the support offered for working age people. As well as CTS, the Council offers a Discretionary Reduction in Council Tax scheme for those who demonstrate exceptional financial hardship or exceptional personal circumstances that justify a reduction or waiver of their Council Tax bill. This aims to offer short term help, and awards are made case by case.
Everyone liable to pay Council Tax pays for the Council Tax Support scheme through their Council Tax payments. Therefore, it is important to get the views of all Council Tax payers whether or not they receive CTS.
Any changes to the scheme will directly affect working-age households receiving Council Tax Support now or in the future.
It is important residents have all the information needed to provide informed answers. The background to the consultation and information about our Council Tax Support scheme will be available online at
www2.tauntondeane.gov.uk/asp/webpages/snap/TDCTAXConsultation.asp or www.westsomersetonline.gov.uk/benefitconsultation
People can respond to the consultation by completing and returning the questionnaire to: Corporate Business Support, Taunton Deane Borough Council, The Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton TA1 1HE or Revenues & Benefits Service, West Somerset Council, West Somerset House, Killick Way, Williton, Taunton TA4 4QA.