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Council tax benefit set to change
CHANGES to the council tax benefit system could mean nearly everyone on the current system will have to pay something towards their council tax in the future.
At the moment the government sets the rules on who can claim council tax benefit and pays the money directly into their council tax account. But this is set to change from April next year, and the government is asking councils to introduce new locally-run discount schemes.
The new scheme, known as Council Tax Support, will be designed to meet the needs of the local area and councils can decide the rules for their scheme.
This means people could have different experiences depending on where they live, but Wiltshire Council has said it is working closely with neighbouring councils to try to make sure, where possible, that they have similar rules for the schemes.
On its website the council says: “Because the government is giving us less money for the new scheme, it is likely that nearly everyone who is currently receiving council tax benefit will have to pay something towards their council tax in the future.”
It said pensioners were not likely to be affected by the changes and vulnerable groups, such as disabled people, families with children under five and war widows and widowers, would be exempt, but everyone else could have to pay up to 20 per cent of their bill.
It says: “There are some tough decisions to be made as we cannot provide everyone with the same level of support as we would like to.”
The council is seeking people’s views and ideas on the new scheme. People can have their say by filling out an online questionnaire at wiltshire.gov.uk/council-tax-payers-survey-2012.htm by October 30.