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Benefit changes & consultations

Benefit changes - Social Fund and Council Tax for people with low incomes

From April 2013 the existing DWP Social Fund arrangements are closing and Council Tax Support (for people on low income) is changing. Both of these types of support will in future be organised by your local council. There will be less money from government next year for these benefits (and probably even less is the years after).

In future, local councils will have to decide locally who they support, and how much support they

can give from these types of benefit. As the central government support falls, if local councils want to keep payments at the same levels they will have to find money from elsewhere in their budgets.

Local councils have additional constraint. Even with the promised localised control, the government still lays down some basic ground rules that they can’t change.

For example,

  • the law says that pensioners must not be affected by any of these Council Tax support changes
  • the new plans must be ready to start by 1/4/13 (or the government may be able to impose a plan on the council)
  • councils say they are still missing key information that they need (the Council Tax changes have not yet finally been agreed by Parliament).

Councils are concerned that not only will there be less funds to provide support – but that systems to pay it might not be in place in time.

There are consultations under way in a number of councils where you can comment on the new proposals, and how they might affect your members.

So what is happening around Merseyside? (The move to localism means that each council will have a different plan). Follow these links to see the information we currently know – these plans may change.

Information last updated 23/10/12