We have launched a research project investigating the local Council Tax Support scheme.
Before April 2013 Council Tax Benefit was a national benefit, meaning the rules were the same for everyone no matter where you lived or how old you were. Since April 2013 local authorities have had to design their own scheme. In North Somerset, residents of working age (16-64) must now pay some of their Council Tax bill when they may not have had to before.
We are looking into how these changes have affected people, and if there is any link between the scheme and North Somerset Council Tax Arrears. We want to make sure the scheme in North Somerset is fair.
What do we already know?
- Council tax arrears pose a North Somerset specific problem when compared to neighbouring local authorities
- The table below shows North Somerset council tax arrears at 12% of dwellings, significantly higher that neighbouring authorities (York is used as a comparison as a local authority that has a similar scheme)
- North Somerset arrears are high in comparison to the rest of the region and much of England
- The numbers of families affected by the change from Council Tax Benefit to the locally designed Council Tax Support in North Somerset and the average cut is high in comparison to neighbouring authorities and the rest of England
- NPI data suggests an average cut of £229 with 8,300 families affected
What do we need to do now?
- Understand if and how the North Somerset Council Tax Support/Reduction scheme is contributing to the level of arrears
- Understand the impact the Council Tax Support scheme is having on local residents
- Evidence the impact of advice
How will this be achieved?
March – May 2015
- Create and distribute survey to analyse local residents awareness of and impact of the scheme
- Compile existing data regarding current levels of council tax support and arrears (by ward, gender, age if possible)
- Collate evidence
- Create a report/summary for a variety of audiences based on the data collected
July – August 2015
- Conduct qualitative research in the form of interviews and focus groups
- Compile a further report based on these findings.
If you would like any further information on this research, or to be kept up to date with our findings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org