Statutory review

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    When the Council Tax Support CTS/CTR scheme was set up, the relevant Local Government Finance Act built in a statutory review. This was duly carried out and the Government has now responded. Here is a brief summary of the recommendations and response:

    One, the deadline for agreeing the scheme yearly should be exceeded; the Government agrees and the date has been changed from 31 January each year to 11 March each year. This gives Councils more time to finalise schemes etc.

    Two, the proposal to allow multiyear schemes was rejected. Schemes must be considered on an annual basis even if no major changes are to be made.

    Three, the suggestion that consultation requirements should be eased and clarified was rejected. There are already guidelines in existence and clear caselaw by the Courts of course.

    Four, DCLG should notify Councils of policy decisions affecting earlier than it currently does. The Government accepts this in principle.

    Five, Councils should be able to recover Council Tax arrears from CTS claimants by voluntary agreement and without the need for expensive liability orders. The Government rejected this suggestion.

    Six, more information should be shared with Councils as full service Universal Credit is rolled out that year. The Government accepts this and acknowledges it needs to do more on this.

    Seven, local Councils should be able to offer its own CTS schemes to those of pension age, including reducing payments to this group. The Government firmly rejects this suggestion (!).

    Eight, Councils should be allowed more discretion in areas such as the single person discount and similar. The Government has “no plans” to allow this.

    Nine, the Government should utilise data collection to understand the impact of CTS especially as there is such a wide variation in schemes. The Government acknowledges this need.

    Ten, the Government should improve research on the CTS scheme. The Government will consider this.

    Eleven, there should be more transparency on long-term funding of the CTS scheme. Funding is currently under consideration.

    Twelve, there should be better communication and partnership forums relating to CTS. The Government considers there is sufficient in place to meet any such need.

    Thirteen, funding passed to town and parishes should be clearly set out to tax payers. This is a matter for individual Councils.

    Finally, CTS should remain a local scheme and should not be included within Universal Credit. The Government confirmed it had no plans to do so.

    The full report is HERE

    Julian Hobson

    not much of a review then !



    One could argue………..a complete waste of time.

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