If you’re getting help with your council tax in Fenland then expect that level of support to be cut next year

Those in Fenland getting help with their council tax could find some of that support disappearing because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fenland District Council says rising numbers of claimants because of Covid-19 means current levels of support may become untenable.

The council is proposing changes to the scheme “and is seeking residents’ views”.

The council tax support (CTS) scheme helps residents on low incomes to pay some of their council tax.

The current scheme gives working age CTS claimants up to an 86 per discount off their council tax – requiring them to pay a contribution of at least 14 per cent towards their bill – depending on their individual circumstances.

“The council is proposing to increase the amount claimants must pay towards their bill to ensure the scheme has enough resource to help and support everyone who needs it,” said a spokesperson.

“The proposal is to increase the current minimum contribution rate of 14 per cent to a proposed rate of either 20 per cent, 25 per cent or 30 per cent from April 2021.”

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Council leader Chris Boden said the impact of Covid-19 on the scheme “has been significant and is expected to continue to increase throughout 2020”.

Unsure how many more will be claiming it and with uncertainty about what help central government might provide, he said there was a growing need to ensure the scheme has enough capacity for the unemployed and those without savings.

“It is critical that residents come forward and give their views so we can shape a scheme which accounts for the most vulnerable first and tries to help others out if and where we can,” said Cllr Boden.

“I urge residents to take part in the consultation, whether they are eligible for CTS or not.”

A 12-week consultation is underway to gauge residents’ views on the proposal.

To take part in the consultation, which runs until Sunday, December 20, visit: www.fenland.gov.uk/consultations

Pensioners are not affected by the proposals and will continue to receive a 100 per cent discount.

At the start of lockdown in March, the council received £907,222 from the Government’s £500m Hardship Fund to provide further council tax relief to working age CTS recipients.

It is currently estimated that all the council’s fund allocation will be used to provide support to current and expected future CTS claimants during the 2020/21 financial year.

It is not yet known whether the council will receive any added support for 2021/22, although the proposal to increase the 14% contribution rate will be re-assessed once further information is known

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