At the end of March we launched a research project investigating the local Council Tax Support scheme. This work has been done in conjunction with other CAB bureaux and the final report is currently being written.
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
- North Somerset council tax arrears stand at 12% of dwellings
- North Somerset council tax arrears stand at £121 per dwelling.
North Somerset arrears pose a North Somerset specific problem when compared to the rest of the region
Arrears data taken from national statistics available here
- In April 2013, following the abolition of Council Tax Benefit and a reduction of funding from Central Government, North Somerset Council implemented their Local Council Tax Support Scheme
- 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.
Report of Findings
The report was published in October and is available as a pdf. Download the report.
It is also available as a short video. Watch the video.
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