New Council Tax Support Scheme approved

PR2260/KS/MF - 23/12/2019

Mid Sussex District Council has updated its Council Tax Support Scheme to make it simpler, more transparent and easier for people to understand.

The updated support scheme was approved at a meeting of Full Council on Wednesday 18 December 2019. Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) is required to make changes to bring the Council Tax Support Scheme into line with the Government’s Universal Credit, which was introduced to Mid Sussex in June 2018.

The Council Tax Support Scheme offers a discount that helps low income households of working age to help pay their Council Tax. There are currently about 3,200 people of working age in Mid Sussex who are eligible for a Council Tax reduction under the MSDC support scheme.

Recipients of Universal Credit can find that the amount received varies slightly from month to month which creates complications for the existing Council Tax Support Scheme. Every time the amount changes, even by just a few pence, the taxpayer’s support must automatically change, as well as the amount they pay in Council Tax.

The updated Council Tax Support Scheme, which will be effective from 1 April 2020, places recipients into bands based on the income of their household. This simplified approach means only significant changes in income will affect the level of discount awarded, making it much easier for people to understand the amount of Council Tax they have to pay.

Councillor Ruth De Mierre, Cabinet Member for Customer Services said:

“On average 40% of Universal Credit recipients have between eight and twelve changes per year in the amount they receive. People are confused by the constant change this creates in the level of Council Tax support and it leaves them unsure about just how much Council Tax they are required to pay.

“Our new banded Council Tax Support Scheme makes the whole process much simpler. Payments will be more consistent, there will be a greater degree of transparency and it will be much more straightforward to understand.”