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Council Tax Consultation launches in Craven

Craven District Council has launched two public consultations regarding potential changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and the period of Council Tax exemption permitted on properties which are both unoccupied and unfurnished.

Council Tax Reduction is a discount for Council Tax. The level of discount is based on the income of the household. Currently the maximum discount is 90% of Council Tax for working age households and up to 100% for pensioners.

Each year the Council has to decide whether to change the Council Tax Reduction scheme for working age applicants in its area. This year the Council is proposing that changes should be made to bring the Council Tax Reduction scheme in line with the changes to Housing Benefit and Universal Credit made by Central Government.

The alternatives that have been considered are:

  • Continuing with the current scheme. This would mean higher administration costs and scheme costs generally. This would increase the costs for all council tax payers in the District paying towards the scheme.          
  • Reduce funding to other Council services. Keeping the current Council Tax Reduction scheme will mean less money available to deliver other Council services; or           
  • Use the Council's reserves to keep the Council Tax Reduction scheme. Using reserves would be a short-term one year only option. Once used they will no longer be available to support and invest in other Council services and additional cuts would have to be made in the following years.

Currently there is a three-month Council Tax exemption allowed for properties that are both empty and unfurnished. The proposal is to reduce that period to one month in order to raise additional funds through Council Tax.

A council spokesman said: "Councils across the country are looking at these options due to the changes to housing benefit and universal credit made by central government.

"Craven District Council values public opinion and will listen carefully to what residents tell us, and take the responses into consideration when making a final decision."

Full details of the consultation process and results can be found on the Council's website www.cravendc.gov.uk/counciltax