This month Havering Council have contacted all Council Tax Support Applicants regarding proposals to change the Council Tax Support Scheme for 2019. Current changes are being considered and The Council would like applicants to have their say.

The Council needs to address a £37 million budget gap that remains over the next four years which has arisen through reduced Government funding, increasing costs and a growing age population. The Council is developing a range of proposals to close the budget gap for the next two years and a review of the Council Tax Support Scheme forms part of these proposals.

To balance the budget, The Council needs to save money by reducing running costs, and/or raise money by increasing income – the most ‘obvious' option to The Council is by raising Council Tax.

The Council has considered using money held in ‘reserves'. This is money held for a specific purpose, or is set aside to cover unforeseen costs. They are not proposing to use reserves, as this money can only be used once. They are looking for permanent savings to their annual running costs.

The proposal is as follows: Working age Council Tax Support claimants with no disabilities pay a minimum amount of 25% towards their Council Tax. Currently the minimum amount is 15% for all working age claimants. For working CTS claimants with disabilities, the proposal is they pay a minimum of 20% towards their Council Tax.

To have your say on the proposals click HERE and complete the survey. The consultation closes on 30th of September 2018 and final decisions on the budget, including the CTS proposals, will be made early in the New Year.

Pensioners are protected by law from the proposed changes to The Council Tax Support Scheme.

Jon Cruddas MP said: "it is extremely important that Council Tax Support Claimants have their say on the proposed changes. The 10%/5% rise will impact many families across Havering, many of whom live in either vulnerable circumstances or have felt the full effect of rising austerity. I urge all claimants to complete the survey before the deadline closes."