Council Tax Rebates Could End

The Town Hall

Households could stop receiving discount on their council tax bill in 2013 under changes being proposed by the Government.

312 single occupants of working age in Scilly currently get 25% off their bills and there are also discounts for 213 second home owners.

The Government is changing the way in which council tax is collected, but our Council is fighting it.

At the moment, discounts are set nationally and the Town Hall gets a rebate for the cash they’ve lost. The Coalition wants to reduce benefits, save money and encourage people to get back to work, and Councils will have responsibility for setting their reductions.

It’s a plan that made Councillor Amanda Martin’s heart sink, she told councillors, at the recent Policy and Resources Committee meeting.

Our council will have a 10% reduction on this year’s benefit rebate money and they’ll have to decide who will get it.

The Government doesn’t want reductions for pensioners so it’ll be working people who’ll be subject to the cutbacks. David Pearson believes it will have an impact on families and is just not acceptable to this community.

Fred Ticehurst says the proposal is a farce and unfair. The Council get to keep any cash they save from reduced benefits but Fred says there is something morally wrong with taking from the less well off to compensate for a 10% grant reduction.

The Council’s Finance Department is concerned that this will add to their workload and  require benefit fraud checks. They are set to object in the Government consultation.

And the Council still has its unique trump card. The Isles of Scilly clause means we have special consideration for new laws and regulations that would be unwieldy or difficult to administer here and Christine Savill wants that mentioned in correspondence with civil servants from the start.