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.
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.
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.