Cuts plan for Council Tax Support scheme

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Liverpool Town Hall. Pic © Connor Dunn / JMU Journalism

Liverpool Town Hall. Pic © Connor Dunn / JMU Journalism

Liverpool City Council is considering making cuts to its Council Tax Support scheme which could affect thousands of working people across the city next year.

Since 2010, the council has had to make difficult decisions after its budget was cut by central government and now the scheme providing help to low income households to reduce their council tax bill may be affected.

Approximately 71,000 people in Liverpool receive £57 million support grants from the scheme and 43,000 of them are of working age. Pensioners who are aged 63 and above will not be affected by the cuts if they take place.

Under the initiative, a person may only have to pay as little as 10% towards their council tax, but the council, like many authorities across the United Kingdom, is looking to push that figure up to 20%, which could help recoup over £4 million.

Collection rates among households receiving Council Tax Support can be as low as 60%. Liverpool City Council believes that if it receives 63% of the additional council tax, they would save £2.6 million.

Paul Johnston, a spokesperson for Liverpool City Council, said difficult decisions need to be made in order to regain some financial stability.

He told JMU Journalism: “If we do choose to put less of our own money in then that will mean a rise in council tax for people who currently receive benefit.

“It is a sign of the agonising and heart-breaking considerations we have to make due to the loss of 58% of our budget.

“We are having to consider things that would have been unthinkable just a couple of years back. But our priority is to find different ways of doing things to shield the most vulnerable from cuts.”

The decision on whether the council will impose the cuts is set to take place next month.

 

 

About Lewis Price, JMU Journalism