More than 9,000 Chesterfield residents are being warned they face higher council tax bills due to changes following national benefit cuts.
Chesterfield Borough Council is alerting anyone of working age who currently gets full council tax benefit that from 1 April they will have to pay a proportion of their council tax bill. Those getting some benefit will also have more council tax to pay.
The changes are happening after the Government decided to withdraw £1.1 million of funding for Chesterfield council tax benefit claimants from 1 April. Chesterfield Borough Council has now agreed a local scheme to replace the national Council Tax Benefit Scheme.
It means that around 7,000 residents currently getting council tax benefit relief will have to pay at least 8.5 per cent of their council tax bill in future.
For most claimants, living in band A properties, this means a council tax bill of at least £1.58 a week or £82 per year. Those who don’t get full benefit will pay more.
Pensioners who receive council tax benefit will not be affected by these changes.
Councillor John Burrows, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “These are big changes that will have a major impact on the incomes of some households so it is important that anyone affected is made aware.
“Chesterfield Borough Council is facing a cut in council tax benefit funding from central government and, like all other councils, we have had to make difficult decisions to protect as far as possible the vital services we offer our residents.
“We have tried to minimise the impact on people who currently get council tax benefit by introducing a number of other measures.”
Other changes will affect around 2,000 people as:
- second homes will no longer get a 10 per cent discount on their council tax
- homes that have been empty for more than two years will have to pay a 50 per cent premium on their council tax rate - in a move designed to bring more empty homes back into use
- empty and unfurnished homes will have the 100 per cent discount on council tax removed after three months instead of six.
Information and advice on these issues is available on the council’s website by visiting www.chesterfield.gov.uk
and clicking on ‘tax/benefits’ or by ringing (01246) 345345.
Independent advice is also available from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, the Unemployed Workers’ Centre or the Chesterfield Law Centre.
Although Chesterfield Borough Council sends out council tax bills most of the money is collected on behalf of different authorities with:
- 74 per cent of the total bill going to Derbyshire County Council to pay for services including education, roads and social services
- 11 per cent going to Derbyshire Police
- 5 per cent going to Derbyshire Fire and Rescue
The remaining 10 per cent goes to Chesterfield Borough Council and parish councils, in areas that have them. Chesterfield Borough Council uses its funding to pay for services including refuse collection, street cleaning, leisure and park facilities, regeneration, housing, markets, cemeteries and crematorium, theatres and tourism.
In drawing up the new proposals Chesterfield Borough Council has worked closely with the neighbouring Bolsover and North East Derbyshire councils to adopt similar schemes.