Discrepancies in Shepway DC’s Council Tax Consultation.

SDC have created two documents regarding the Council Tax Reduction Scheme Consultation: They are report-c-16-78  and the ctrs-consultation-responses-analysis

When compared these documents percentages are at odds with each other by one or two percentage points, but differences they are

The table below is from the first document (report c-16-78) and can be found at page 4 onwards and both documents went before the Overview & Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday, 15th November, 2016 and not a single Councillor noticed, nor to be fair did SDC officers including the Head of Finance.

Option

Proposed changes

Consultation overview

1

Reducing the maximum level of support for working age applicants from 81.5% to 80% or 75%.

57% agreed

Consultation Analysis %

58%

Discrepancy 1%

2

Removing the Family Premium for all new working age applicants. This will mirror Housing Benefit.

46% agreed, while 40% disagreed.

Consultation Analysis %

47%

Discrepancy 1%

3

Reducing backdated applications to a maximum of 1 month (currently 6 months). This will mirror Housing Benefit.

66% agreed.

Consultation Analysis %

68%

Discrepancy 2%

4

Use a set income for self employed earners after 1 year’s work. In order to align Council Tax Reduction with Universal Credit, the Council proposes to use a minimum level of income for those who are self-employed. This would be in line with the National Living Wage for 35 hours worked per week. Any income above this amount would be taken into account based on the actual amount earned. The income would not apply for a designated start-up period of one year from the start of the business.

53% agreed.

Consultation Analysis %

54%

Discrepancy 1%

5

Reducing the period for which a person can be absent from Great Britain and still receive Council Tax Reduction to 4 weeks. This will mirror Housing Benefit.

81% agreed

Consultation Analysis %

83%

Discrepancy 2%

6

Reducing the capital limit from the existing £16,000 to £6,000. At present, residents with savings, capital and investments of more than £16,000 are not entitled to any Council Tax Reduction. Under the proposed change; this limit would be reduced to £6,000.

56% agreed.

Consultation Analysis%

58%

Discrepancy 2%

7

To introduce a standard level of non dependant deduction of £10 for all applicants who have non-dependents resident with them. Within the current scheme a deduction is made from Council Tax Reduction for people other than the applicant’s partner who are 18 years old or over, That person would be expected to contribute towards payment of Council Tax. At present the weekly deductions range from £0.00 to £11.45 per week according to weekly income. The deductions would be replaced by £10.00.

66% agreed.

Consultation Analysis %

68%

Discrepancy 2%

8

To take any Child Maintenance paid to a claimant or partner into account in full in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction. Currently any payments of Child Maintenance paid to either an applicant or their partner does not count when working out their income for Council Tax Reduction. This proposal would allow the Council to include any Child Maintenance in the calculation. This income is not currently recorded by the Council so cases would need to be reviewed.

56% agreed.

Consultation Analysis %

58%

Discrepancy 2%

9

To take any Child Benefit paid to a claimant or partner into account in full in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction. Currently any payments of Child Benefit paid to either a claimant or their partner does not count when working out their income for Council Tax Reduction. This proposal would allow the Council to include any Child Benefit in the calculation.

54% agreed.

Consultation Analysis %

55%

Discrepancy 1%

10

To restrict the maximum level of Council Tax Reduction payable to the equivalent of a Band D charge. The current Council Tax Reduction scheme uses the full amount of Council Tax charge irrespective of the band of the property. There are eight Council Tax Bands A to H with Band D being the national average. It is proposed that where an applicant lives in a property which is Band E, F, G or H then the Council Tax Reduction will be calculated on the basis of a Band D charge.

55% agreed.

Consultation Analysis %

56%

Discrepancy 1%

11

To Remove Second Adult Reduction from the scheme. The current Council Tax Reduction scheme can grant a reduction up to 25% in certain cases where the income of a ‘second adult’ (not the applicant’s partner) who resides with the applicant is unemployed or has a low income, this would be removed as an option for applicants.

49% agreed , while 34% disagreed

Consultation Analysis %

50%

Discrepancy 1%

12

To remove the element of a Work Related Activity Component in the calculation of the current scheme for new Employment and Support Allowance applicants. This will mirror Housing Benefit.

55% agreed.

Consultation Analysis %

56%

Discrepancy !%

13

To limit the number of dependant children within the calculation for Council Tax Reduction to a maximum of two. This will mirror Housing Benefit.

65% agreed.

Consultation Analysis %

67%

Discrepancy 2%

14

To introduce a scheme, in addition to Council Tax Reduction, to help applicants suffering exceptional hardship. The option would introduce a scheme whereby, individual cases would be looked at on their own merit; a scheme would need to be produced should this be agreed. It should be noted that KCC funding details are not known at time of writing and that the Council would look to operate a scheme similar to that of Discretionary Housing Payments that will relate to Council Tax.

80% agreed.

Consultation Analysis %

82%

Discrepancy 2%

How is this possible? We simply do not know, but which set of figures will SDC use to inform Councillors at Cabinet & Full Council when the report comes before them?

Also SDC do not tell us anything about their methodology they used in this consultation. Who were the 3780 recipients who received the consultation by email? Where did they live? Were they chosen randomly or were they selected from high Conservative voting areas across the district, eg North Downs West ward? We simply do not know as SDC do not explain.

Anyway that aside, 56% or 58% we do not which, agreed to include Child Maintenance Payments into account in full in the calculation of Council Tax Reduction. This means that money meant for child could now possibly be spent on Council Tax.

“Although some aspects of the responses appeared reasonable to members they had particular concerns in respect of the following:

  • Response rate – disappointed in the response rate, particularly the high % from the over 55’s.

  • Agency responses – it was felt that the agencies that had responded were in a better position to understand the effect it will have on people.

Members also asked for their comments from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting to be reiterated for when Cabinet consider the report.”

We are flabbergasted and bitterly disappointed that either 56 or 58% of respondents to the survey chose to take money from the mouths of babes.

If you would like to know the answer to why there are discrepancies between the two documents, you can contact

Head of Finance for SDC  – pat.main@shepway.gov.uk,

S151 Officer for SDC – tim.madden@shepway.gov.uk

Image result for Cllr Susan Carey

Councillor Miss Susan Carey (left), Cabinet Member for Finance – susan.cary@shepway.gov.uk

Image result for Cllr Peter Gane

Chair of  Overview & Scrutiny

Councillor Peter Gane – peter.gane@shepway.gov.uk

Shepwayvox

 

Advertisements

6 Comments on Discrepancies in Shepway DC’s Council Tax Consultation.

  1. Is it really a surprise that the people of Shepway have voted to make their fellow residents poorer or perhaps in many cases voted to make themselves poorer? They have been doing it for years hence the poor housing, shocking levels of poverty and the lack of provision.

    Like

  2. SDC probably never did a consultation in the first place. After all how do we know they did. We only have their word for it. It seems these days like other Local authorities SDC seem to do just as they like. They are accountable to no one.

    Like

    • To be fair to SDC, they did do a consultation.. here are the results https://shepwayvox.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/ctrs-consultation-responses-analysis.pdf
      I filled in the online survey after finding it on the SDC web site, I wasn’t invited.
      I can recognise a couple of my comments or at least the comment(s) shown aren’t all that different to mine in that any cuts will cause hardshjp.

      Call me cynical but I’d say that the “sampled invitees” were probably selected with a bias towards supporting cuts or does that just make me a bad loser?
      Just like I am with the EU referendum..

      Like

  3. As I understand it, there is no statute to cause any Council to tell the truth.

    You may well wish to believe their platitudes, but are they true? My personal experience is that Councils interpret their responsibilities in the way that best suits their ends. Denying contentious issues and towing the Council line.

    There is a case to cause Councils to be truthfull and to be covered by the current legal system. It would, at least, help we, the electorate, to formulate an informed view on the issues brought to Council for discussion.

    In a nutshell, should Local Bodies be caused to expoused truth at the expense of rhetoric? and should this be a legal requirement?.

    I have experienced enough debate to appreciate that truth takes a poor second to rhetoric.

    There are members of Cabinet who properly represent the views of their electorate, Conversely, there are those who do not. You decide whom is whom!

    Like

    • “As I understand it, there is no statute to cause any Council to tell the truth.”
      Quite right…

      It is the duty of an “opposition party” in a council (and local newspapers) to scrutinise “majority party” testiculation.

      Like

  4. The problem at SDC is there is no opposition, the UKIP Cllrs, tend to vote with the Tories, they fail to challenge the policies or put forward a coherent alternative. From what I am told (a serving Cllr) they fail to agree with each other. Some are Tories in drag, one or two are far right and the others are not sure. SDC needs more than anything an opposition.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: