Walsall Council House (pic: Stuart Williams)

Council tax benefit scheme cut

Walsall Council House

A local Council Tax benefit scheme has been cut back in Walsall following  government funding reductions.

Walsall Council bosses approved changes to the council tax reduction scheme at Full Council on 12 January 2015 whereby all working age residents will have to pay at least 25% of their council tax bill.

Councillor Sean Coughlan, Walsall Council Leader, said: “In April 2013 central government replaced the national council tax benefit scheme with a new scheme administered by the council.

“Since then the government funding to support the new scheme has reduced year on year and the council has been able to protect all residents from the impact of these changes until now.

“From April 2015 this will no longer be possible as the council is faced with the challenge of having to save £86 million over the next four years.

“Our decision to provide a maximum benefit of 75% will save the council over £2.3 million in 2015/16 whilst still providing support to vulnerable groups within the working age council tax base.”

Portfolio holder for social care, Councillor Diane Coughlan, explained: “We understand that some households in Walsall may find it difficult to pay their new or increased council tax bill so we are making it easier by providing more flexible paying options.

“Instead of paying ten monthly payments, we can extend it over twelve months.  If you prefer a weekly or fortnightly payment scheme, that can also be accommodated.

“Council officers are also on hand to help with money management and budgeting advice.”

Council tax bills will be posted out to residents from 6 March 2015 which will include an information leaflet on help with paying your bill.