The Council was obliged to annually consider whether to revise its Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS), leave it as was or replace it with a completely new scheme. The report proposed to retain the existing scheme for 2022/23. However, the introduction of Universal Credit (UC) meant that the current scheme was proving increasingly difficult to administer and more difficult for recipients of the discount to understand and manage. The proposal was to explore options to provide greater certainty in the light of UC. Any decisions on design and subsequent implementation would occur by 2023/24 at the earliest, to allow for extensive consultation.
Members expressed concern regarding an imminent reduction in UC which, when viewed alongside the upcoming increase in energy costs, was likely to place a number of residents in dire financial straits.
John Betts – Interim Executive Director of Finance, Revenues & Benefits – confirmed that extreme caution was needed when designing the proposed bandings. A number of scenarios would be ‘modelled’ before any specific proposals were brought before the Panel.
RESOLVED – That the Panel recommend that Cabinet:-
· APPROVE the proposal to retain the existing CTRS for 2022/23;
· APPROVE the proposal for further research to be undertaken into alternative designs for a CTRS that better deals with the impact of UC, subject to a further report and consultation.