Woking Borough Council
Civic OfficesGloucester SquareWokingSurreyGU21 6YL
Telephone: 01483 755855
05 February 2013
Please note: these pages contain archived information. Whilst the details were correct when first published, they may since have 'aged' and some of the information could be out-of-date.
As part of its agenda to reduce welfare costs by £500 million, the Coalition Government has changed the way in which people receive help with their Council Tax. From 1 April 2013, when the current national Council Tax Benefit scheme ceases to exist, a new local scheme, known as Council Tax Support, will replace it.
In line with Coalition Government requirements, Woking Borough Council approved its Council Tax Support scheme following a decision by Members at the full Council meeting held on Thursday 24 January 2013.
Under the new scheme, pensioners (people who have reached the qualification age for pension credits) have been protected by the Coalition Government, leaving the financial burden to fall on working-age claimants.
Woking has worked with other Surrey authorities to develop the Surrey Framework. The Council's scheme is based on incorporating the Surrey Framework criteria into the Government's Council Tax reduction scheme, resulting in:
The second adult rebate has been removed - if living alone, you can claim a 25% discount off your Council Tax bill regardless of your income. This will remain. However, if a second adult moves in with you, they will not be able to claim the second adult rebate.
The maximum award is restricted to the level of a Band D property - if you live in a Council Tax Band E to H property, you will now receive support equivalent to a Band D property.
No award of less than £5 will be made - if your assessed weekly Council Tax Support entitlement is less than £5, support will no longer be given.
Maximum capital limit of £10,000 - Council Tax Support will not be provided if you and/or your partner have more than £10,000 in capital.
Woking Borough Council has also approved technical changes to its Council Tax exemption list following a decision by Members at the same Council meeting on Thursday 24 January 2013.
The technical changes mean that the following changes will apply from 1 April 2013.
Abolition of the second home discount - properties classed as second homes will no longer receive a 10% discount off their Council Tax bill.
Reduce unoccupied or unfurnished property exemptions (Class C exemptions) to one month - properties receiving Class C exemption will receive one month exemption rather than the current six month exemption period.
End the 12 month exemption for uninhabited properties that are in need of structural repair (Class A exemption) - properties in Class A will no longer receive Council Tax exemption.
Charge 150% Council Tax premium on properties left empty for two years or more.
Cllr John Kingsbury, Leader of Woking Borough Council, said: "We have had to make some difficult decisions because of the reduction in funding from central government. Working with other authorities across Surrey, we have sought to offset the cost of the Local Council Tax Support scheme, while limiting the adverse affect on those in greatest need. We are also acutely aware of the shortage of homes in our Borough and the technical changes will act as an incentive for property owners to bring more local homes back into use. I believe we have agreed a fair and reasonable approach."
Between 15 October and 7 December 2012, the Council carried out an eight-week consultation with residents and key stakeholders on both proposals. In total, the Council received 1,097 responses to the consultation which were used to help shape the scheme which was considered at the Council's Executive at its meeting on Thursday 17 January 2013 and approved by full Council on Thursday 24 January 2013.
In addition to the changes, a discretionary Council Tax Hardship Fund will also be created to assist those suffering financial hardship following the introduction of the support scheme.