Council tax support scheme approved for Hartlepool - this is how much you will pay if you're entitled to help

Councillors have rubber-stamped maintaining the level of support provided to low income working-age households with their council tax bills.

Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 26th December 2019, 2:05 pm

Members of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Finance and Policy Committee earlier this month recommended the town’s Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) Scheme should remain at 12% for 2020/21.

The rate was confirmed after the motion was unanimously approved at a Full Council meeting.

This means financially-disadvantaged residents will continue to only be required to make a minimum 12% contribution towards their Council Tax bills.

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A consultation had been held on if the rate should be increased to one of 14%, 16%, 18% or 20% – or maintained at the current level.

Council leader Coun Shane Moore said he was pleased to see the 12% option was supported by councillors and many who responded to the consultation.

He said: “Following the recommendation that came from Finance and Policy we did go out to consult on whether the policy should stay as it was or consider a different level.

“I was pleased that the response from the results came back to retain the current level because I did have serious concerns that the people who this scheme helps the most would not necessarily respond to the consultation.”

He said he wrote to a number of organisations who frequently deal with the most vulnerable in Hartlepool to their voices were heard.

Of the 343 responses, almost two-thirds were in favour of maintaining the LCTS scheme at 12% – a rate which has been in place for six years.

Councillors had previously heard effective arrangements are in place for collecting council tax under the 12% scheme and maintaining the current LCTS scheme provides the council with greater financial certainty and stability.

Officers had warned if low income households were required to make a bigger contribution to their council tax bills – potentially generating more income for the council – greater provision would need to be made for bad debts.

The council’s LCTS Scheme was introduced in 2013 when central government scrapped national council tax benefit.

The government requires low-income pensioner households be protected and must receive the same level of council tax support as they would under the former national council tax benefit scheme.