FENLANDER: Have your say on Council Tax Benefit changes

RESIDENTS are being asked for their views on proposed changes to Council Tax Benefit that are due to come into force next April.

The changes, which are part of the Government’s welfare and localism reforms, make local councils fully responsible for setting and administering the benefit.

A 10-week consultation on the proposals was launched on Monday (August 13).

Currently the benefit levels are set nationally and the scheme is funded in full by central government. That is changing.

From April 2013 councils will get an annual government grant towards the costs of the scheme. The amount of money available to them is being cut by an average of 10 per cent and the Government has said that pensioners must have their benefits protected at current levels. At the same time the grant does not allow for increased demand.

Fenland District Council is seeking residents’ views on how it can accommodate all these factors.

Councillor Alan Melton, FDC’s Leader, said: “No one wants to reduce the amount of support offered but the fact is that our funding is being reduced and we have to work out a system we can afford.”

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The consultation runs until October 20.

For more information and an online questionnaire, go to FDC’s website at www.fenland.gov.uk/localcounciltaxbenefit. You can also pick up details at the Fenland @ your service shops in Chatteris, March, Whittlesey and Wisbech.