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Southwark Council Tax Benefit Consultation

The Government is abolishing Council Tax Benefit and Southwark Council is required to adopt a Local Council Tax Support scheme in its place from 1 April 2013.

The Government is also reducing the amount of money it contributes to the new scheme by at least £2.8 million locally.

When creating the new support scheme, Councils must protect pensioners from any changes.

To meet the funding shortfall, Southwark Council has proposed that working age recipients of Council Tax Benefit will have to pay 15% of their Council Tax.

Southwark Legal Advice Network has produced a very good briefing (available to download here) that estimates over 24,000 people on very low income may have to try to find on average between £1.50 and £3.00 per week.

Community Action Southwark are concerned about the potential implications the proposed changes will have on the lives of some Southwark’s most vulnerable people and the wider consequences for the voluntary sector.

To ensure this transition is handled as positively as possible, we would like to co-ordinate and submit a response on behalf of local voluntary and community sector. To help us do so, answer the following questions:

  1. For those of you working with clients who are in receipt of Council Tax Benefits, what are the risks of a reduction of £3.00 a week in benefits? How would it affect their daily lives?
  2. The council is proposing a technical change to existing Council Tax Benefit entitlement. It is proposed that the second adult rebate is no longer available within the local Council Tax Support scheme. What effect would this have?
  3. Currently only pensioners will be protected from any changes to their Council Tax Benefit. What are the risks of not protecting other groups of vulnerable people? If other groups should be protected, how should these be prioritised/this process handled?
  4. The Council are facing a budgetary reduction of £2.8 million. If this scheme cannot find sufficient savings from those in receipt of Council Tax Benefit, how should this shortfall be managed?

Please email Andy Boaden at andy@casouthwark.org.uk  your responses by 5PM on Tuesday 28 August. Where possible, please include statistical data and case studies to add depth to our case and demonstrate impact.

Southwark is consulting on their proposal until the 12th September and individual responses can be submitted online here

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