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  • FIRST POST
    • Former MSE Helen
    • By Former MSE Helen 26th Aug 11, 3:01 PM
    • 2,324Posts
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    Former MSE Helen
    MSE News: Council tax benefit could drop 20%
    • #1
    • 26th Aug 11, 3:01 PM
    MSE News: Council tax benefit could drop 20% 26th Aug 11 at 3:01 PM
    This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

    "The Government has released proposals for a new localised council tax support scheme that could leave many getting less ..."

Page 1
  • akin drum
    • #2
    • 26th Aug 11, 3:11 PM
    • #2
    • 26th Aug 11, 3:11 PM
    At the moment there does not appear to be enough information on which to make comment. This thread, and it's title, appears to be deliberately attempting to incite fear among those that are in receipt of council tax. Besides which, shouldn't this be discussed somewhere else? I thought the benefit board was about helping people maximise their benefits - not discuss proposed changes.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 26th Aug 11, 3:15 PM
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    CIS
    • #3
    • 26th Aug 11, 3:15 PM
    • #3
    • 26th Aug 11, 3:15 PM
    I had a read though the consultation document and couldn't see much other a very basic idea on what the scheme would achieve, I cant see any deeper details that would show the calculations required before someone can quote a 20% cut.

    I've been to several meetings where the subject has come up (mainly with the people who have dealt with the consultation process) and they've not been given any figures on how the calculations would work (at leats not up until a few weeks ago).
    Last edited by CIS; 26-08-2011 at 3:24 PM.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • rogerblack
    • By rogerblack 26th Aug 11, 3:54 PM
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    rogerblack
    • #4
    • 26th Aug 11, 3:54 PM
    • #4
    • 26th Aug 11, 3:54 PM
    I had a read though the consultation document and couldn't see much other a very basic idea on what the scheme would achieve, I cant see any deeper details that would show the calculations required before someone can quote a 20% cut.
    Originally posted by CIS
    To quote from the consultation document ' In future the funding to be distributed to local authorities will be cash limited and will be paid from the Departmental Expenditure Limit budget of the Department for Communities and Local Government. Moreover, the amount to be made available will be reduced by 10 per cent. The Department expects to deliver this money to local authorities as grant.'

    So, funding from central government is reduced by 10%.
    It's then put in an un-ring-fenced budget, so councils may be tempted to further dip into this.
    The councils then have to setup and deliver a fair, equitable system for assessing who this 10+% cut falls on, which will take some funds of its own.

    It's also fairly unequal across the country.
    If you express it in pounds/head terms, the city of london gets a 3 pound reduction, and Haringey gets 24 pounds less per year.

    Some councils have lots of 'easy' targets - if they have lots of second home owners, then reducing or eliminating the discount might be one option.
    If on the other hand, it's a deprived borough, choices get harder.

    Then there are gaps that the consultation fails to cover.
    What about people moving between authorities with differnet criteria?

    And the 20% figure comes from the fact that pensioners and 'vulnerable people' (those on ESA for example) are assumed to be protected, so the burden falls disproportionately on working people with older children, the single, and childless couples.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 26th Aug 11, 4:06 PM
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    CIS
    • #5
    • 26th Aug 11, 4:06 PM
    • #5
    • 26th Aug 11, 4:06 PM
    Moreover, the amount to be made available will be reduced by 10 per cent. The Department expects to deliver this money to local authorities as grant.'
    It will but you cant make a straight inference from that.

    And the 20% figure comes from the fact that pensioners and 'vulnerable people' (those on ESA for example) are assumed to be protected, so the burden falls disproportionately on working people with older children, the single, and childless couples.
    You cant just double the figures like that with no real basis, that figure has been doubled to try and introduce a scare factor. At this stage the figure may be 20% or may easily be less. To be honest the vast majority of CTB is paid to those on other benefits and over pension age so the % on the rest may be even higher but its far too early to be quoting figures.

    Some councils have lots of 'easy' targets - if they have lots of second home owners, then reducing or eliminating the discount might be one option.
    That would require a change in the regulations.

    Personally I would remove exemption given to students (Class N) and replace it with a discount - say 75%.
    Last edited by CIS; 26-08-2011 at 4:17 PM.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 26th Aug 11, 4:39 PM
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    CIS
    • #6
    • 26th Aug 11, 4:39 PM
    • #6
    • 26th Aug 11, 4:39 PM
    DWP confirm that the average award is 15.81 per week,

    5.85 million claim council tax benefit of which at least 75% are pensioners, so that leaves about 1.4 million people who dont have preserved pensioner awards.

    The week budget for CTB is 81,500,00 so 10% would be 8,100,000.

    The amount of CTB paid to those under pension age is about 12,100,000 per week. If the 8,100,000 is taken from this then that reduces the weekly CTB pool to 4,000,000 for this group.

    This makes the payable CTB in this group around 2.75 per week(4,000,000 / 1,460,000).

    The award for those people is reduced by approx 83% , a big difference from 20%.

    What this shows is that the figures can be used to a totally different figure to that quoted and no doubt can be made to both lower and higher drops.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • woodbine
    • By woodbine 26th Aug 11, 5:42 PM
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    woodbine
    • #7
    • 26th Aug 11, 5:42 PM
    • #7
    • 26th Aug 11, 5:42 PM
    At the moment there does not appear to be enough information on which to make comment. This thread, and it's title, appears to be deliberately attempting to incite fear among those that are in receipt of council tax. Besides which, shouldn't this be discussed somewhere else? I thought the benefit board was about helping people maximise their benefits - not discuss proposed changes.
    Originally posted by akin drum
    I agree 100%,the thread title reads like a benefits and work email title !
    it seems that mse towers are entitled to break the rules on this
    forum,the rest of us would see a simlar thread despatched to DT pdq!

    and as you rightly point out there is very little information to go on...yet
  • Miss Bolan
    • #8
    • 26th Aug 11, 8:06 PM
    • #8
    • 26th Aug 11, 8:06 PM
    I have to agree with other posters - this is a disappointing story bordering on scare-mongering.

    I am a Revenues and Benefits Officer at a Local Council, in benefits I calculate Housing and Council Tax benefit and in revenues I administrate council tax accounts.

    And.... I have nothing of any use to add to this thread!

    We are sent emails/updates on a regular basis from a number of different sources regarding the changes proposed to the benefit system and the only conclusion we are able to reach so far is.... No one's got a clue! There are a lot of vague papers and proposals and half hearted ideas and it would seem nothing has been decided firmly (although the government plans to put this all through in 2013 - not without making a total mess they won't!).

    For those on council tax benefit I would take no notice of this 'story' yet - there is not enough information to reach any conclusions at all.
    Trying to be good and watch the pennies, but guilty of falling off the wagon every so often!
    • CIS
    • By CIS 26th Aug 11, 8:48 PM
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    CIS
    • #9
    • 26th Aug 11, 8:48 PM
    • #9
    • 26th Aug 11, 8:48 PM
    We are sent emails/updates on a regular basis from a number of different sources regarding the changes proposed to the benefit system and the only conclusion we are able to reach so far is.... No one's got a clue!
    Pretty much the same story in my dept.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • cit_k
    Where does localisation come into it?
    I thought council tax was already a localised benefit, as you dont claim from the 'dwp' you claim from your local council surely?
    ie - its already localised.
  • cit_k
    T

    And the 20% figure comes from the fact that pensioners and 'vulnerable people' (those on ESA for example) are assumed to be protected, so the burden falls disproportionately on working people with older children, the single, and childless couples.
    Originally posted by rogerblack
    I would be very surprised if the government classified anyone on ESA as vunerable. They didnt regard people on ESA as being vunerable, or even disabled enough to be exempt from the benefit caps for example.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 26th Aug 11, 10:20 PM
    • 11,170 Posts
    • 6,516 Thanks
    CIS
    Where does localisation come into it?
    I thought council tax was already a localised benefit, as you dont claim from the 'dwp' you claim from your local council surely?
    ie - its already localised.
    Council Tax is localised , Council Tax Benefit isn't.

    At the moment the council only administer HB and CTB on behalf of the DWP , under the new system the CTB will be run by the council and they will be able to set the rate paid (within reason) as their discretion, i.e they wont be running it on behalf of DWP.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • xmen2
    • By xmen2 27th Aug 11, 11:24 AM
    • 32 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    xmen2
    I have to agree with other posters - this is a disappointing story bordering on scare-mongering.

    I am a Revenues and Benefits Officer at a Local Council, in benefits I calculate Housing and Council Tax benefit and in revenues I administrate council tax accounts.

    And.... I have nothing of any use to add to this thread!

    We are sent emails/updates on a regular basis from a number of different sources regarding the changes proposed to the benefit system and the only conclusion we are able to reach so far is.... No one's got a clue! There are a lot of vague papers and proposals and half hearted ideas and it would seem nothing has been decided firmly (although the government plans to put this all through in 2013 - not without making a total mess they won't!).

    For those on council tax benefit I would take no notice of this 'story' yet - there is not enough information to reach any conclusions at all.
    Originally posted by Miss Bolan
    Good luck with the big day and thank you for calming my nerves with regard to the 20% cut to Housing Benefit as i'm totally dependent on benefits and unable to find suitable work
    • michaels
    • By michaels 28th Aug 11, 12:19 AM
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    michaels
    No comment re 'suitable' work.

    However as mentioned above to me the big issue (as well as the 10% cut) is the distribution factor - generally tory councils with a lower proportion of residents receiving the benefit will be affected much less, in a way a back-door work around to changing the funding formula.

    Also another tory stich up of the lib dems - the lib dems get the localism bit they want but then probably end up also carrying the can for the integrated 'cuts' bit. Does anyone know if there is any ringfencing of funds or can the councils actually make their own decisions re council tax levels and the total bill for refunds? What about increasing the CT by 10% (and thus triggering a 10% increase in the central gov hb funds (offsettting the 10% reduction) and then pay a citizens rebate of 10% to all CT payers?!
    Cool heads and compromise
    • rogerblack
    • By rogerblack 28th Aug 11, 7:36 AM
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    rogerblack
    What about increasing the CT by 10% (and thus triggering a 10% increase in the central gov hb funds (offsettting the 10% reduction) and then pay a citizens rebate of 10% to all CT payers?!
    Originally posted by michaels
    There are limits on council tax rises imposed by central government.
  • DaisyFlower
    I think its a good idea, its a bill at the end of the day so why should people get it subsidised in the first place. Making those on benefits pay part of it will mean less choose a life on benefits as the system wont be as cushy.
    • HappyMJ
    • By HappyMJ 28th Aug 11, 8:32 AM
    • 20,595 Posts
    • 17,201 Thanks
    HappyMJ
    I think its a good idea, its a bill at the end of the day so why should people get it subsidised in the first place. Making those on benefits pay part of it will mean less choose a life on benefits as the system wont be as cushy.
    Originally posted by DaisyFlower
    As long as benefits increase by the same amount then go ahead and do it. Many find it difficult at the moment trying to live on benefits and introducing a bill which for me would be 3.30 a week (20% of 75% of a Band B property) or 5.70 a week for a family in a typical Band D property would be made even more difficult. I can see many choosing not to pay and risking further action. BTW I don't choose to claim and have a life on benefits I need to claim to be able to pay the bills. It's not cushy at all.

    Regular savers earn 6% interest (HSBC, First Direct, M&S) Loans cost 2.9% per year (Nationwide) = FREE money.
    • Weary soul
    • By Weary soul 28th Aug 11, 9:24 AM
    • 264 Posts
    • 349 Thanks
    Weary soul
    This is a disaster waiting to happen imo. The whole idea terrifies the life out of me. Seems this government won't be happy until we're all thrown out on the street.
    • I luv cats
    • By I luv cats 29th Aug 11, 5:42 AM
    • 14,072 Posts
    • 72,257 Thanks
    I luv cats
    500m savings - is it really worth putting through against:

    The cost of the current gov. review \ consultation and the cost of the councils having to decide how to implement it, rewriting policies, re-training of staff, chasing non payers of the council tax
    difference.

    This will be another failed idea as it will cost more than it will save.

    They could stop the council tax altogether and save the cost of implementing it, chasing up payment and put it on income tax instead.
    • HappyMJ
    • By HappyMJ 29th Aug 11, 6:29 AM
    • 20,595 Posts
    • 17,201 Thanks
    HappyMJ
    500m savings - is it really worth putting through against:

    The cost of the current gov. review \ consultation and the cost of the councils having to decide how to implement it, rewriting policies, re-training of staff, chasing non payers of the council tax
    difference.

    This will be another failed idea as it will cost more than it will save.

    They could stop the council tax altogether and save the cost of implementing it, chasing up payment and put it on income tax instead.
    Originally posted by I luv cats
    The average band D council tax in England is 1,439. To put that onto income tax would increase the basic rate of tax from 20% to 30%. I really doubt any government would want to do that.

    Regular savers earn 6% interest (HSBC, First Direct, M&S) Loans cost 2.9% per year (Nationwide) = FREE money.
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