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18/07/2012 Councils throughout the country now have a legal duty to create new Council Tax Support schemes and, under the government's decision to cut the present resource level of benefit by at least 10%, and in Craven's case the equivalent of more than 12%, CDC will now have to administer this reduced sum to the same number of benefit claimants.
Historically Council Tax Benefit, although administered locally, has been a national benefit funded fully by the Department for Work and Pensions. From next year, local authorities will be responsible for devising and administering a new Council Tax Support scheme; the above cuts in central government funding result, in Craven's case, to a shortfall of up to £450,000.
The Statement of Intent issued by the government confirms that pensioners will not be disadvantaged by the change, and will remain on their own scheme, very similar to existing provisions. No other group is specifically protected, although there is a requirement to consider matters such as child poverty, the needs of the disabled and others classified as 'vulnerable' Uniquely Craven has the highest percentage in England ( over 60% ) of pensionable & vulnerable residents who qualify for protected benefits. This means that the other present beneficiaries will be facing substantially higher cuts than 12%.
Members of Craven District Council's Policy Committee met on 10th July to agree a range of options to present for consultation. Discussions with County Council will be held during August and public consultation is expected to be underway by September.
The Leader of the Council, Cllr Chris Knowles-Fitton promised, "I can assure residents that we shall work hard and do our best to produce a scheme that is as fair as possible to existing benefit claimants whose benefits will not be protected under the new government scheme".
Craven District Council
1 Belle Vue Square
Telephone: 01756 700 600
Fax: 01756 700 657