Doubling council tax payments for young families and the disabled

The request was partially successful.

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

Grimsby Telegraph reports 7 December 2017 that by reducing Council Tax discount from 25% to 12.5% for the disabled and families with children under 5 would hopefully improve collection rates by 0.2% (a measure stated to offset the predicted drop in collection rates etc.)

1. How does increasing a customer's Council Tax liability have any direct bearing on the collection rate. If a debt is made more difficult to pay by increasing it the opposite is most likely, i.e the collection rates would deteriorate.

2. What percentage of the 'Council Tax Hardship Fund' has been spent in respect of customers seeking financial help (categorised for each year) since the Council Tax Reduction Scheme was introduced.

Yours faithfully,

Rosemary Tydfil

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Sir / Madam

 

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information, which has been
allocated the reference number NELC/7564/1718.

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Yours sincerely

 

North East Lincolnshire Council

 

 

 

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PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Sir or Madam

 

Thank you for your information request, reference number NELC/7564/1718.
I wish to confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council holds the following
information:

 

Grimsby Telegraph reports 7 December 2017 that by reducing Council Tax
discount from 25% to 12.5% for the disabled and families with children
under 5 would hopefully improve collection rates by 0.2% (a measure stated
to offset the predicted drop in collection rates etc.)

 

1)      How does increasing a customer's Council Tax liability have any
direct bearing on the collection rate. If a debt is made more difficult to
pay by increasing it the opposite is most likely, i.e the collection rates
would deteriorate.

 

Your first point has arisen from the article in the Grimsby Telegraph
dated 7 December, and I note that your email was timed at 11.28am. I would
like to highlight that the Telegraph corrected it’s article later that
day, amended at 12.08pm, to more accurately state the content of the
council’s Taxbase Cabinet Report. I have copied the relevant section of
the cabinet report here for you –

 

In calculating the council tax base an assumption of 98.2% collection rate
has been made for 2018/19. This represents the amount expected to be
collected overall, not just in-year. The assumed collection rate was
reduced in 2013/14 from 98.6% to 98.2% in recognition of anticipated
difficulty in collection from citizens affected by the transition from
Council Tax Benefit to LCTSS. The assumed support has so far proved to be
accurate and there is no material deficit in the collection fund. As part
of the MTFP process it is expected that the impact of Universal Credit is
likely to be fully realised in 2020 and as such we revised our collection
rate assumptions down in 2020/21 to 98.0%

 

So the 0.2% adjustment to the collection rate is a future recognition of
the eventual impact on collection from Universal Credit introduction, and
is not in direct reference to adjustments made to support for certain
protected groups in the borough.

 

2)      What percentage of the 'Council Tax Hardship Fund' has been spent
in respect of customers seeking financial help (categorised for each year)
since the Council Tax Reduction Scheme was introduced.

 

The Council Tax Hardship Fund does not actually have a ‘fixed ceiling’
budget. There is not a prescribed amount set aside, more that people who
apply and meet the relevant criteria will be supported through the scheme.
Although this means that I am unable to give you a percentage figure I
have supplied the total sums spent in this area since the introduction of
the Council Tax Reduction Scheme in 2013 as follows –

 

2013/14 - £2170.35

2014/15 - £4184.14

2015/16 - £4905.72

2016/17 - £5362.18

2017/18 - £8291.15 (to date)

 

If you believe that your request for information has not been handled in
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, you have the right to
request an internal review by the Council. Please be clear about which
elements of the Council’s response or handling of the request you are
unhappy with, and would like the Council to address during the internal
review process. If following this you are still dissatisfied you may
contact the Office of the Information Commissioner. If you wish to request
an internal review, please contact me and I will make the necessary
arrangements.

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

Feedback Officer

 

 

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