Proposals to reduce council tax support in Northumberland

Northumberland County Council
Northumberland County Council

All Northumberland residents bar pensioners could have to pay at least some council tax under new proposals which would save around £1million annually.

Northumberland County Council’s cabinet is being asked to approve a consultation on a reduction in the level of council tax support for working-age claimants to 92 per cent.

The current scheme provides assistance of up to 100 per cent of the liability, meaning that some households pay no council tax.

The assistance provided for pensioners is set out by the Government, but for younger people, it is up to each council to decide.

Currently, only Northumberland and Durham in the North East continue to provide up to 100 per cent relief and they are among only 37 out of 326 nationally to do so.

The cost of the 26,984 people receiving support in 2018-19 is forecast to total £25million, of which 15,425 working-age claimants get £14million and 11,559 pensioners receive £11million.

Of the 15,425 working-age claimants, more than three-quarters (12,010) receive the full relief and currently have no bill to pay.

An eight per cent reduction in the maximum support would reduce the cost of the scheme by £1.2million and, based on an anticipated collection level of 83 per cent over time, would generate additional council-tax receipts of £1million.

In terms of the impact on those currently receiving 100 per cent support, an eight per cent reduction to a typical band A property would mean a council-tax bill of £98.55 per year for a couple/family or £73.91 for a single person.

If approved by the cabinet on Tuesday, September 11, a six-week consultation will take place ahead of a final decision in January next year.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service