Second home owners could lose tax benefit

More than 5,000 working age people in Amber Valley are being asked for opinion on proposals to reduce Council Tax benefit.

The poll comes after the Government decided to scrap the benefit its current form in favour of a Local Council Tax Support scheme.

Under the current system, people on low or no incomes have up to 100 per cent of their council tax paid by their local authority through council tax benefit.

However, now there will be a 10–12 per cent reduction in funding from the Government for council tax support, which will leave a £850,000 shortfall in Amber Valley, which the borough council will need to plug itself.

The council is now deciding how to address that reduction in funding and is working on a new scheme which will be in place for the 2013/14 Council Tax year based on the results of consultation with local communities.

An initial report will be considered by at the full council meeting on September 26.

Councillor Stuart Bradford, Leader of Amber Valley Borough Council said: “We have worked very hard to minimise the impact on those who will be affected by the changes and the consultation process will help us to refine the scheme to be launched in April 2013. To help 5,200 working age recipients, our proposal is to recover some of the grant shortfall by removing the Council Tax discount currently offered to second home owners in Amber Valley.”

Letters and a survey will be sent to around 5,200 benefits recipients asking them what they think of the proposals. A copy is available in Belper Town Centre Office.