Residents in Corby are being asked for their views on proposed Government changes to council tax benefit.
From April next year the Government is abolishing the benefit and replacing it with a local council tax support scheme, to be controlled by local authorities.
Funding for the new scheme will be in the form of a grant based on the existing system, with a reduction of between 10 and 13 per cent.
In Corby this means there will be around £585,000 less next year to distribute to claimants, £76,000 of which will have to be found by the borough council, and it is likely that further reductions will be made over the next few years.
The change will take effect from April 1, 2013, and Corby Council is giving residents the chance to take part in a consultation process which has now started and will continue until August 18.
Under the new scheme it will be the responsibility of local authorities to develop a local scheme of support for residents on low incomes who need help to pay their council tax.
The authority is being given the power to change some existing discounts and exemptions that can be applied to council tax liabilities.
It says making some changes to discounts, such as those for empty and unfurnished properties or those applied to second homes, may help it offset the amount of reduced council tax support it receives.
Leader of Corby Council, Cllr Tom Beattie, said: “These are extremely difficult and challenging times for local authorities but here in Corby we are committed to ensuring that our residents have the opportunity to get involved and tell us what they think about the proposed changes.
“These decisions are going to have a huge affect on our residents and so we are urging everyone to have their say on what the new council tax support scheme could look like and what changes we should make to the council tax discount and exemptions.
“Any changes made will not be a decision that will be made lightly.”
For more information or to have your say on the proposed changes please go to www.corby.gov.uk/site-page/council-tax-benefit-changing