Consultation continues after Government announces £3 million funding cut
Tuesday 21 August 2012
The most vulnerable families in Coventry are set to be protected by the Council despite the Coalition Government’s policy of making savings from cutting funding for benefits.
The Council is being forced to respond to a £3 million funding shortfall in the cash it gets from Government to fund Council Tax Benefit.
The funding for Council Tax benefit is to be cut by 10 per cent from current levels in the latest in a series of welfare and benefit reforms imposed by the Government.
This latest move means support for council tax payments will be transferred to the City Council's control from April 2013 and Local Authorities need to design, consult on and agree a local scheme by 31 January next year.
The Government have confirmed that people of pension age cannot be affected by this cut and will not receive any reduction in their support under a local scheme.
Council Tax Benefit is a means tested benefit to help low-income households with council tax costs. Coventry administers over £30m of benefit to more than 37,000 households. The average award is about £15 per week.
The Council now has to consult with residents across Coventry on a local scheme to replace the one run by the Government. Consultation runs until 15 October.
Cabinet members have agreed - subject to consultation - to maintain council tax benefit levels in 2013/14 at the current rate, even though the Council will receive a reduction of £3 million in government funding.
That means the Council will have to find the money from elsewhere within the budget, leading to cuts in other services.
Councillor George Duggins, Deputy Leader of Coventry City Council and Cabinet member (Strategic Finance and Resources), said: "To pass on the Government's cuts would directly affect thousands of Coventry residents, including some of the city's most vulnerable people.
"We are committed to ensuring we protect these vulnerable people, and that is why we are proposing to maintain existing levels of support and fund the £3m gap from other areas of Council spending.
"The Council has to introduce a local scheme and we want local people to have their say on the scheme we are proposing."
Informal discussions have already taken place with advice agencies to gather opinions.
You can also:
Fill in a paper questionnaire - at these places:
- City Council Housing and Benefits Advice Centre, Spire House, New Union Street, Coventry CV1 2PW
- Council House Reception and Council Tax Payments Counter, Earl Street, Coventry, CV1 5RR
- Coventry Law Centre Oakwood House, St Patricks Road Entrance, Coventry CV1 2HL
- Citizens Advice Bureau Kirby House, Little Park Street, Coventry CV1 2JZ
E-mail your views to CouncilTaxSupport@coventry.gov.uk
Or write to:
Revenues and Benefits Service
Finance and Legal Services Directorate
Coventry City Council
Ground Floor, Christchurch House
Greyfriars Lane, Coventry, CV1 2QL