Sutton Council is consulting with borough residents about changing the local council tax reduction scheme.

In April 2013, council tax benefit was replaced by a local council tax reduction scheme where people entitled to a council tax reduction pay less council tax. At that time the council adopted a scheme similar to the national council tax benefit scheme and a number of changes have been made to the scheme since.

Previously Sutton Council received a Government grant to cover the entire cost of the scheme. However, under the current council tax reduction scheme there is a funding shortfall from central Government.

The consultation, which runs until 9 October 2016, is seeking residents’ opinions about changing the council tax reduction scheme from 1 April 2017. A complete change in the council tax reduction scheme may have the advantage of making the Scheme easier to understand and help reduce running costs.

The existing scheme is based primarily on the previous council tax benefit scheme with a few changes. Sutton Council has, wherever possible, aligned the scheme with existing welfare benefits and with Universal Credit.

Four consultation meetings are being held in Sutton during August:

Wednesday 10 August, 12 noon-2pm: Meeting Room 1, Civic Offices, Sutton

Wednesday 17 August, 10am-12 noon: Trinity Centre, Maldon Road, Wallington SM6 8BL

Tuesday 23 August, 2-4pm: Riverside Community Association Ltd, 113 Culvers Avenue, Carshalton SM5 2FJ

Alternatively, Sutton residents can complete the consultation online here.

Cllr Nick Emmerson, Deputy Chair of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee at Sutton Council, said:

“We want to hear what Sutton residents think about our proposals to change the local council tax reduction scheme. These proposals would make the scheme more efficient and easier to understand and would comply with the Local Government Finance Act.

“The proposed changes in this consultation will not affect people of state pension credit age. Pensioners will continue to be assessed under the council’s Scheme for Pensioners.”

In preparation for potential changes as a result of the consultation, Sutton Council is updating the scheme regulations to ensure that all proposed changes are updated.