Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
Tory Cllr warns: 'Only losers in council tax shake-up'
RESIDENTS will be consulted over the impacts of a proposed new system of council tax discounts – but a senior Tory warned of only financial pain ahead.
The Government has announced that it will abolish the current system of council tax benefits from next April 2013.
As a result, councils around the country are being asked to draw up their own council tax schemes, factoring in a cut of more than 11 per cent in Government funding.
Wycombe District Council may decide to meet the shortfall by raising council tax, slashing benefit payouts or a combination of both.
It has to decide which people of working age should continue to get help to pay their council tax bills and how much they should receive.
Pensioners who currently get council tax benefit will be unaffected.
WDC Cabinet member for finance, Cllr Roger Wilson, told members on Tuesday night: “Sadly there will be no winners, only losers.”
The options proposed by WDC are:
• Reducing the amount of support to all working age applicants by a fixed percentage.
• Applying a limit on the amount of council tax support that can be paid in respect of a property or restricting benefit for specific types of claimant.
• A combination of the above options.
• Whether protection can be given to any ‘vulnerable’ groups and if so who and at what level.
Once a detailed scheme has been proposed it will go out to public consultation prior to council chiefs making a final decision.
Cllr Wilson added: "We will of course continue to fulfil our role in protecting the most vulnerable within our communities.
“The council aim to find a fair balance between ensuring claimants are not overly penalised but at the same time making sure that other residents do not bear unreasonable costs of a local scheme.”