Ashford Borough Council

Council Tax Reduction Consultation

Changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2020/21

Coins

Ashford Bourough Council

Opens: 01 August 2019
Closes: 30 September 2019

What is this consultation about?

Each year the Council has to decide whether to change the Council Tax Reduction scheme for working age applicants in its area. This year the Council has decided that changes should be made to significantly change the Council Tax Reduction scheme. This is due to the introduction of Full-Service Universal Credit within the Ashford area. In effect the traditional link between Housing Benefit (which will no longer be available to new working age claimants, with some exceptions) and Council Tax Reduction will no longer exist. It is essential that the scheme is changed to meet future requirements, to reduce the cost of running the scheme and to ultimately prevent any additional costs being added to Council Tax.

Please note that whilst the changes are intended to reduce the level and cost of administration, the Council is not looking to reduce the total overall level of support available.

What is Council Tax Reduction?

Council Tax Reduction is a discount for Council Tax and it was previously called “Council Tax Support”. The level of discount is based on the income of the household. Currently the maximum discount is 82.5% of Council Tax for working age households, 95% for working age disabled & carer households and up to 100% for pensioners.

Why is a change to the Council Tax Reduction scheme being considered?

In April 2013, the Council Tax Benefit Scheme was replaced by a new Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Council Tax Benefit had been funded by the Department for Work and Pensions. It supports people on low incomes by reducing the amount of Council Tax they must pay.

The Council Tax Reduction scheme is determined locally by District Councils rather than the Department of Work and Pensions. Although the Government initially provided funding for the scheme, the funding has reduced each year

People can claim Council Tax Reduction if they are on certain benefits, or in receipt of a low income. The current scheme requires all working age applicants to pay a minimum of 17.5% of their Council Tax (a maximum level of support of 82.5%). Working age disabled & carer households pay a minimum of 5% of their Council Tax. Applicants in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support and Income Rated Employment and Support Allowance receive the maximum level of support. Others receive a level of Council Tax Reduction based on their income and other factors.

A separate Central Government scheme is retained for people of pension age meaning that pension age claimants are not affected by changes to the scheme. Councils are only able to vary their schemes for people of working age.

All councils are required to review their Council Tax Reduction scheme each year. If they want to make any changes they must inform the public and gather views through public consultation.

Ashford Borough Council is proposing a number of changes to its existing scheme and, in line with legislation, we have a duty to consult you and provide you with the opportunity to tell us your views on the proposed changes to our Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

The Council is consulting on the following changes to its scheme for 2020/21 – these are explained in more detail later on:

  • Introducing an income ‘grid’ scheme for all working age applicants replacing the current means tested approach which was based on the previous Council Tax Benefit scheme (Change 1);
  • Limiting the number of dependent children used in the calculation of support to two for all working age applicants (Change 2);
  • Changing the claiming process for all applicants who receive Universal Credit (Change 3);
  • Removing the current earnings disregards and replacing them with a standard disregard of £25 (Change 4);
  • Disregarding Carer’s Allowance which is currently taken into account as income (Change 5);
  • Where the applicant is in receipt of Universal Credit, any amount awarded as a housing element will be disregarded when calculating the applicant’s income(Change 6);
  • Decrease the maximum level of protection for working age claimants from 82.5% to 80%, and from 95% to 90% for working age disabled & carer households (Change 7);
  • Remove the extended payments provision within the existing scheme (Change 8);
  • Provide a further income disregard of £40 where an applicant, their partner or dependant child is in receipt of Carer’s Allowance or a disability benefit such as Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (Change 9)
  • Making all changes in circumstances which change any entitlement to Council Tax Reduction on a daily basis rather than the current (benefit based) weekly basis (Change 10);This scheme is estimated to affect 4,500 households in the borough. The gross cost of the scheme is £7.4 million which is spread across Ashford Borough Council (9%), Parish (3%), Kent County Council (73%), Fire (4%), and the Police (11%).

Who will this affect?

Working age households in the Borough who currently receive or will apply for Council Tax Reduction.

This will not affect pension age households.

Are there any alternatives to changing the existing Council Tax Reduction scheme?

We have also thought about other ways to make the process simpler. These have not been completely rejected (including maintaining the current scheme) and you are asked about them in the Questionnaire.

We have considered the following:

  1. Continuing with the current scheme
  2. Reduce funding to other Council services to pay for additional administration costs
  3. Use the Council’s reserves to keep the Council Tax Reduction scheme

Documents

Respond

Links

Celebrating funding success!

Ashford Borough Council has been awarded more than £3 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund to revitalise Victoria Park.

The funding, thanks to National Lottery players, means the council can deliver its exciting plans to redevelop and restore one of Ashford’s oldest and most-loved green spaces, working with the local community, volunteer groups and the Friends of Victoria Park.

Proposals include a new children’s play area, improvements to the river, improved lighting across the park, and a new community hub building with café, and new toilets. The iconic Grade II Listed Hubert Fountain and the surrounding piazza area will also be restored and repaired.

The council will be employing four new members of staff to manage the project, including a parks officer who will be based on site. There will also be opportunities for the community to get involved with volunteering roles as part of the project.

Almost £1.9 million will be spent on repairs and conservation of the historical aspects of the park, and another £1 million has been earmarked for new building work including access paths, signage, bridges, and dipping platforms.

Friends of Victoria Park have welcomed the success and will be exhibiting some details of the proposals at Create and Mr. Harper’s Birthday Party this weekend.

Ashford Borough Council
https://news.ashford.gov.uk/news/celebrating-funding-success/

Election results

We now have the full results for the Borough Council Wards representing South Ashford.

Candidate Party / GroupNumber of Votes*
Beaver Ward
SUDDARDS, Lynda JuneLabour Party480Elected
WARD, AlexanderLabour Party 437Elected
TAYLOR, Thomas NormanUK Independence Party283
HODGKINSON, Amanda GeorginaConservative Party 238
PIZZEY, Maria AnnGreen Party237
DOBSON, Robert CharlesConservative Party183
Electorate: 4589Ballot Papers Issued: 1107Turnout: 24.12%
Norman Ward
WEBB, Jennifer AnneConservative Party205 Elected
JONES, Dylan AlexanderLabour Party187
BURGESS, Neil RobertUK Independence Party130
ARNOLD, Albert StephenGreen Party78
Electorate: 2077Ballot Papers Issued: 602Turnout: 28.8%
Victoria Ward
FARRELL, DaraLabour Party 484Elected
SUDDARDS, John CharlesLabour Party378 Elected
ADBY, Jeremy PaulConservative Party290
SMALL, JonathanGreen Party278
MBALI, Valerie CharlotteLiberal Democrats274
BRIDGER, Matthew JamesConservative Party248
TAYLOR, Ann MarieUK Independence Party193
STEWART, Peter AlexanderUK Independence Party186
Electorate: 4376Ballot Papers Issued: 1259 Turnout: 28.77%

Make up of Council

Conservative Party26
Ashford Independent11
Labour Party7
The Green Party2
Independent1
Size of Council47

Poplars planning application

Ashford Borough Council (ABC) have submitted a planning application to demolish 14 flats and 3 houses at the Poplars at the junction of Beaver Lane and Beaver Road and replace them with 31 apartments for independent living older tenants.

The proposed development follows the rebuilding of Farrow Court, nearby, Danemoor in Tenterden and the proposed rebuild of East Stour Court in Mabledon Avenue as part of an ABC strategy to modernise and increase their sheltered housing stock.

The new apartments will be for affordable rent to tenants aged 50 or above.

The ABC Planning case reference is 19/00516/AS
https://planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=112217

One week to Register to Vote

Your vote matters - don't lose it

You must have registered to vote by 12 April to vote in the Borough Council elections on 2nd May.

If you are not registered you can register online to vote in a matter of minutes. You will need to give your name, address and National Insurance number. If you do not have your National Insurance number you can still apply to register you will be asked to provide more information.

Register on-line at gov.uk/register-to-vote

You can contact the Electoral Services Office for Ashford by phone,
01233 330402, if you want to discuss any issues around your registration or, to view the current electoral register, call into their office at after first telephoning for an appointment.
Civic Centre
Tannery Lane
Ashford
Kent TN23 1PL .

Please note they will not discuss your registration with anyone else including family members. If you have made an application it may take several days for us to process especially at busy periods; there is no need to reapply.

Postal and Proxy Voting

If you are not able to get to your polling station on the day of the election you may wish to apply to vote by post or proxy. For more information on postal and proxy voting, or to download an application form, please see your vote matters.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote for these elections is 5pm on Monday 15 April 2019.

If you have a postal vote you cannot vote in person at the polling station, you must use your postal vote.

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote for these elections is 5pm on Wednesday 24 April 2019.

If you are given a proxy vote and your proxy is not able to attend your polling station on election day then your proxy can make a separate application to vote as proxy by post but please note the deadline for your proxy to apply to vote by post is 5pm on Monday 15 April 2019.

There is also an emergency proxy facility for cases where there is a medical emergency or if you are suddenly called away for your employment. The medical emergency or employment reason must have occurred after the deadline for ordinary proxy applications has passed.

Your application will need to be signed by someone else to support your application. Only certain people can sign as a supporter and details are included with the application form.

Borough Council Election Candidates

The following candidates have been nominated for election to the Ashford Borough Council Wards in South Ashford.

Name of
Candidate
Home Address Description
Beaver Ward
DOBSON
Rob
30 Pittlesden, Tenterden,
Kent, TN30 6HJ
Conservative Party
Candidate
HODGKINSON
Amanda Georgina
Flat 4 Oakleigh House,
Watercress Lane, Ashford,
Kent, TN23 5EL
Conservative Party
Candidate
PIZZEY
Maria Ann
24 Lynsted Close, Ashford,
Kent, TN23 5RZ
Green Party
SUDDARDS
Lyn
35 Queen Street, Ashford,
TN23 1RF
Labour Party
TAYLOR
Thomas Norman
Festival Cottage, Colt Estate,
Pluckley Road,
Bethersden, TN26 3DD
UK Independence
Party
WARD
Alexander
94 Sir Bernard Paget Avenue,
Ashford, TN23 3RY
Labour Party
Norman Ward
ARNOLD
Al
(Address in Ashford) Green Party
BURGESS
Neil Robert
73 Hillbrow Lane,
Ashford, TN23 4XW
UK Independence
Party (UKIP)
JONES
Dylan Alexander
40 Copperfield Close,
Kennington, Ashford,
Kent, TN24 9RJ
Labour Party
WEBB
Jenny
7 Upper Denmark Road,
Ashford, TN23 7TZ
Conservative Party
Candidate
Victoria Ward
ADBY
Jeremy Paul
14 Church Yard,
Ashford, Kent, TN23 1QG
Conservative Party
Candidate
BRIDGER
Matthew James
(Address in Ashford) Conservative Party
Candidate
FARRELL
Dara
38 Luddenham Close,
Ashford, Kent, TN23 5SE
Labour Party
MBALI
Charlotte
23 Western Avenue,
Ashford, TN23 1LY
Liberal Democrats
SMALL
Jonathan
57 Weavers Way,
Singleton Farm,
Ashford, Kent, TN23 5DY
Green Party
STEWART
Peter Alexander
Childrens Farm Bungalow,
Norton Lane, St Michaels,
Tenterden, Kent, TN30 6TB
UK Independence
Party (UKIP)
SUDDARDS
Charles
35 Queen Street, Ashford,
Kent, TN23 1RF
Labour Party
TAYLOR
Ann Marie
The Festival, Colt Estate,
Pluckley Road,
Bethersden, TN26 3DP
UK Independence
Party (UKIP)

Where candidate election statements have been provided, they can be accessed by clicking on the candidate’s name. Some of these statements are on the candidate’s or party’s website. Candidate’s representing the same party in any ward may provide common statement.

We would be pleased to post the statements for any of the candidates listed. Candidates should contact us to arrange for statements to be posted.

Voters should remember that Ashford Borough Council’s principal services are housing, leisure and recreation, environmental health, waste collection, planning applications, strategic planning.

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