Released on 08 October 2012
Surrey Heath residents are being asked to give their views on a new proposed local scheme to replace Council Tax Benefit.
From April 2013 the government is ending the national Council Tax Benefit scheme as part of its welfare reforms and asking local councils to set their own local schemes, known as Council Tax Support.
As part of the reforms, the government is reducing funding for council tax support meaning less money for councils to fund their new local schemes.
Surrey Heath's scheme would start from 1 April 2013 and is proposed to broadly follow the rules of the existing current benefit scheme. However due to the reduction in money available to fund this support, it is likely to mean that everyone of working age who currently receives Council Tax Benefit will have to pay something towards their Council Tax bill.
As required by the government, pensioners on low incomes who currently receive benefit to pay their Council Tax in full will be exempt from the changes and not be expected to contribute towards their Council Tax under the new scheme.
The final local scheme will not be decided until after consideration of all responses to the consultation, which closes on 18 November.
Residents are encouraged to find out more about the changes and how they could be affected. More about the proposals are available on the council's website via www.surreyheath.gov.uk/counciltaxchanges where feedback can be given using the online question and answer survey. The consultation is open to all residents, whether they receive benefits or not.
For those who don't have access to the internet, paper copies of the consultation are available from Surrey Heath House or by calling 01276 707121.