A report from the Executive Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services is attached. (Key decision – reference number 4588)
(8.30 – 8.35 pm)
Appendix E will be circulated “to follow”
Councillor Dino Lemonides (Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency) introduced the report of the Executive Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services (No.137) recommending the Council Tax Support Scheme for 2018/19.
1. That the report recommended the Council Tax Support Scheme for 2018/19, maintaining the current minimum contribution for working age households not in a protected group at 26.5%, introducing an income threshold for universal credit claimants and a further protected group for care leavers.
2. That in recognition of the difficulties faced by local households, the Council introduced and had maintained a discretionary Council Tax Hardship Scheme, as detailed in paragraph 4.3 of the report. During the financial year 2017/18, the Council had awarded more than £100,000 in small grants.
3. Members expressed their appreciation and support to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency and his officers for maintaining the support for vulnerable groups within the scheme and, the introduction of a further protected group for care leavers. The Council would continue to monitor the way this scheme had worked for local people and would consider future options.
4. The impact of the Government’s welfare reforms and the significant financial pressures being faced by individual residents. The Council Tax Hardship Scheme was discussed as outlined in the report, and the potential financial pressures on the Council in meeting demand of residents in need of such support now and in the future.
5. The detail of the Council Tax base 2018/19 as set out in Appendix D of the report; and, the Business Rate Base 2018/19 outlined in Appendix E of the report. The calculations and assumptions set out in Appendix D resulted in a Band D equivalent tax base for 2018/19 of 96,005 properties, an increase of 962, resulting in an increase of £1.4m.
6. That the introduction of the London business rate pool by the Government would give a share to the Council of 64% of the estimated business rate income for 2018/19; the figure was currently 30%.
7. Members’ attention was drawn to the main elements set out in Appendix E including the Discretionary Rate Relief Policy and its impact. The Policy would ensure the Government funded reductions for small businesses, pubs and those businesses facing the steepest increases in their business rates bills, as a result of the 2017 revaluation were maximised. During 2017/18 relief was worth over £1m for local businesses who were struggling, with over £500,000 available for next year.
8. That a “Money Day” was being held on 25 January 2018 with the Council working jointly with the Enfield Job Centre and Citizens’ Advice Bureau to provide budgeting advice to local residents.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED, that the Council had considered the alternative option of maintaining the current council tax support scheme for Universal Credit cases but as Universal Credit included working tax credit the range of income levels within the Universal Credit award would increase the cost of the council tax support scheme considerably.
RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL
1. That Council ... view the full minutes text for item 8