The council has agreed to carry out consultation on proposals to reduce the level of council tax support to some claimants. With a significant budget gap over the next three years of around £36m Northumberland County Council says it needs to explore all possible options to help it find savings to meet that target.
Currently, of the 15,425 working age claimants in Northumberland, 12,010 receive 100% support and currently have no bill to pay. If proposals are agreed they would affect all claimants. Almost every other local authority in the region has reduced its Council Tax Support in recent years at varying levels and, if approved, Northumberland’s would be one of the smallest reductions in the North East. It would also be one of the smallest Council Tax reductions in the whole country.
Councillor Nick Oliver, Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources, said: “We take no pleasure in proposing changes to this scheme but we have to find a balanced budget. We have to make some tough decisions over the coming years to balance the books, which we have a statutory duty to do.”
The consultation, which will include a wide range of stakeholders including residents, parish and town councils and voluntary sector organisations, will run between September 24 and November 2.
Details of how to get involved will be published nearer the time.