Oxford City Council is launching a consultation on its proposals for changes to its Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme, which provides council tax discounts for residents on low incomes.
Since the end of national Council Tax Benefit in April 2013, councils have been responsible for drawing up their own CTR schemes, and must consult residents if they want to make changes to their schemes.
In light of the rollout of Universal Credit to couples and families in Oxford from October the council wants to introduce a simple banding system for Universal Credit claimants. This will provide council tax discounts from 25% to 100%, dependant on household income. The council also wants to make changes to the scheme to bring it in line with recent changes to Housing Benefit.
Councillor Susan Brown, Board Member for Customer and Corporate Services, said:
“We are one of very few councils to have left our CTR scheme unchanged in the last four years. Our overall aim is to maintain and not reduce support for those residents that need it to pay their Council Tax. The fact that Universal Credit income may change month to month means we think it is fairer and simpler to bring in a banding system for Universal Credit claimants.
“Our consultation runs from 31 July until 24 September. If you want to take part but can’t do this online, you can pick up a paper consultation form from a council office or advice centre.”
Following consultation, the council will consider responses and hopes to agree changes to CTR in January. The new CTR scheme will start in April 2018.
The online consultation is at www.oxford.gov.uk/counciltaxreductionscheme