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1 Budget Overview and Context Eugene Walker Executive Director - Resources.

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1 1 Budget Overview and Context Eugene Walker Executive Director - Resources

2 2 Council Budget Context Sheffield City Councils budget is reducing Sheffield’s population is changing and growing There with an increased demand for services SCC commitment to reducing poverty and increasing social justice…but the cuts to our budget create difficult choices for some of the funds we administer to those in receipts of benefits

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7 The impact of the welfare reforms - estimated £172.7m impact on incomes in the city.

8 What have we done to support people? We have undertaken a great deal of work as a Council to help support people affected by welfare reform, including: Providing extra support to tenants via the Council Housing Service and successfully gaining contact with around 3000 of tenants Briefing social work teams on changes to the benefits system so that they can refer families in need onto appropriate help and support Establishing a project group to enable the Council and its customers to prepare for the introduction of Universal Credit, recognising that many people in Sheffield will experience difficulty in transitioning to UC and will require additional support Producing a booklet in early 2013 to explain to people about the benefits changes and to help them access any support that they might need; this booklet was updated and reissued in Summer 2014 Providing employment support to key groups claiming out of work benefits through an employability programme Working with partner organisations including housing associations and the advice sector to better understand the problems people are facing 8

9 Benefits and funds managed by SCC Housing benefit - end of our role in transition to Universal Credit? - ‘bedroom tax’ and Discretionary Housing Payments Council Tax Benefit to Council Tax Support and hardship fund Local Assistance Scheme 9

10 Council Tax Support CTB was replaced by CTS and the government cut in funding in the first year 2013/14 by around £5m (10%) and we had to fund the difference No changes were allowed to pensioners so the cut translated in to a 20% plus cut for working age claimants Current CTSS was set in January This assesses support for all working age claimants against 77% of their Council Tax liability. So Council taxpayers of working age pay a minimum of 23% towards their bills. There are 32,000 working age people in the city receiving CTS Government’s Financial support for CTS is no longer a specific grant so in real terms as our funding from government reduces year on year funding for CTS falls unless the Council finds money from elsewhere (approx 40% cut now) We will consult on any further changes to the Council tax support scheme

11 11 Hardship Schemes The Council administers or runs three principal schemes to help people who are suffering from financial hardship. These are The Council Tax Hardship Scheme Discretionary Housing Payments Local Assistance Scheme The Council Housing Service also runs a small hardship scheme

12 Council Tax Hardship Scheme In 2013/14 the Council set up a £500k hardship fund for those who are struggling to pay their Council Tax, largely to mitigate worst impacts of CTSS, known as the Council Tax Hardship Scheme (CTHS) During 2013/14 8,315 CTHS awards were made For 2014/15 the Council has set aside a further £500k to fund the CTHS. 12

13 13 Local Assistance Scheme Some discretionary elements of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Social Fund were abolished from April 2013 The DWP providing funding for the Council to establish local assistance for financially disadvantaged people. Sheffield’s fund is known as the Local Assistance Scheme The Council’s budget allocation for the scheme for 2013/14 was £2,071,098, funded by DWP grant In , this grant is cut by DWP completely SCC needs to decide how to sustain some form of LAS

14 14 Discretionary Housing Payments The Council is responsible for administering Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP), which are used to support customers with housing costs Many of these customers are those affected by a reduction in Housing Benefit as a result of the Under-occupancy rules There are 3909 tenants affected by these rules in Sept 2014 (49 less that July 2014) During 2013/14, 6,982 DHP awards were made. The value of those awards was £1,224,000 For 2014/15 the Council has received £1,040,000 in DHP grant from the Government

15 Choices? How to support tackling poverty whilst dealing with: - Cumulative cuts to grant that includes Council Tax Support -End of Local Assistance Scheme funding -Pressure on Discretionary Housing payments -Considering impact of wider benefit cuts Decisions/consultation for budget – which includes another £40m grant cut by Government Cumulative SCC savings will be £300m by 2015 Approach: mitigating worst impacts/ensuring we are efficient and equitable 15


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