Council leader’s view

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West Lindsey District Council has announced a major shake-up of council tax benefits with many people being left with a much larger bill.

The changes will mean anyone over 18 - and still of working age - who currently has all of their council tax paid for them will now have to pay 8.5 per cent of the bill.

Based on this year’s average band D rate, this will mean paying out an extra £119.57 a year.

The only people exempt from this new rule are people who have a war pension and those who get a disability or carers allowance.

The changes, which come into force in April, also mean second adult rebate will now only be given to pensioners - anyone else who has previously received a discount will no longer do so.

This will affect many people with a partner who does not work or is on a low income.

The new Local Council Tax Support Scheme will also affect people who own empty properties - any property that has been unoccupied and unfurnished for two years or more will be liable for a premium of 50 per cent of the council tax meaning the owner will pay 150 per cent of the bill.

Owners of properties empty for more than two months will pay the council tax bill in full.

And owners of properties undergoing structural work will have to pay 75 per cent of the bill - but this reduction will only apply for up to 12 months. They will then pay the full amount.

WLDC looked at how much it was spending on council tax benefits after the government announced a cut in funding.

Councillors approved the proposal at a full council meeting following an eight-week public consultation.

The council says the scheme is designed to “protect the most vulnerable people throughout the district while also being fair to all taxpayers”.

The council hopes it will encourage owners of empty property to put these back into use to help provide “much-needed” housing and minimise homelessness.

There are more than 1,500 empty properties in West Lindsey and more than a quarter of these will have been unoccupied for two years by April 1.