Have your say on new council tax scheme

Local elections. May 2008.'Graham Stokes. Labour. Knottingley.'w3843c819
Local elections. May 2008.'Graham Stokes. Labour. Knottingley.'w3843c819
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PEOPLE have been invited to have their say on a new council tax benefit scheme.

Wakefield Council has drafted a new policy that would require all working-age claimants to pay some council tax.

A two-month public consultation on the plans opened on Monday.

The new scheme will replace the government’s national council tax benefit scheme, which will be scrapped from April next year.

Coun Graham Stokes, cabinet member with responsibility for council tax, said: “It is vitally important that we hear your views.

“We are committed to protecting those most in need in our communities and will do all we can to make sure Wakefield’s local scheme is fair and recognises individual circumstances. But we need your help to do this.”

Last month Coun Stokes said the proposed new scheme would leave 19,000 benefits claimants worse off.

But he said with government funding slashed it was the fairest possible scheme.

Under the proposed scheme, everybody would pay something, everybody in a household would contribute and people would be encouraged to work.

The amount of benefit paid would depend on individual circumstances and benefits would not be paid to people with relatively large capital or savings.

The scheme would also have to be simplified and would not add to the council budget gap, which currently stands at £95m over a six-year period.

More information about the proposals is available on the council’s website, www.wakefield.gov.uk, along with an online questionnaire.

There will also be a number of drop-in events around the district to allow people to have their say.

People can visit Cedars Business Centre, in Hemsworth on Thursday, September 13, between 11am and 2pm, or Broad Lane Business Centre, in South Elmsall on Friday, September 21 between 11am and 2pm.