A consultation on changes to the Council Tax Support Scheme has been launched by Blaby District Council from 17 August, closing on 30 September 2018.
Following significant reductions in central government funding, the Council no longer receives money based on the Council Tax support provided to households. This money must now be found by Blaby District Council through its central budget.
In order to make up the shortfall following the funding cut, the Council has launched a consultation on changes which could save hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, and is seeking residents’ views.
Proposals include a 200% Council Tax charge on properties that have been empty for more than two years. This is part of the Council’s drive to bring long term empty properties back into use across the district.
Other changes include no longer giving an unfurnished and unoccupied property a one-month free period of Council Tax, removing the 10% discount for second homes in the district and no longer offering a 50% discount on Council Tax to properties undergoing major repair or structural works.
If all four proposed changes were made it could save up to £400,000 per year for Blaby District Council, Leicestershire County Council, Leicestershire Police Authority, Leicestershire Fire Authority and local parish councils.
The consultation also includes proposals on Council Tax Support Scheme. Currently around 5,000 households receive a means-tested discount. All households currently pay at least 15% towards their Council Tax bill.
Four options are being considered in the consultation, including reducing the maximum support from 85% to 83%, 80% or 78%. A reduction to 78% would save around £300,000 per year.
There will be no change to the amount of help for people of pension age credit, the 25% single person discount or the exemption for those who are severely mentally impaired and living alone.
Councillor Lee Breckon, Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “This is an important consultation and we want as many residents as possible to have their say to help us shape the difficult decisions we have to make.
“The consultation is open until 30 September and we encourage people to read the booklet which gives clear information on the proposals and savings that could be made before having their say.
“Any savings would be shared between ourselves, Leicestershire County Council, the Fire and Rescue Service, Leicestershire Police and Parish Councils.”
Residents can visit www.blaby.gov.uk/consultation to find the consultation booklet and fill in the online consultation form. A paper copy is also available on the website or via request on 0116 272 7510.