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Presentation on theme: " Council Tax Support (in the wider context of Welfare Reform) Tim Savill Head of Benefits Coventry City Council July 2012 Or…………Less."— Presentation transcript:

1 Council Tax Support (in the wider context of Welfare Reform) Tim Savill Head of Benefits Coventry City Council July 2012 Or…………Less to pay out and more to collect!!!

2 Welfare Reform Bill “an historic step in the biggest welfare revolution in over 60 years.” David Cameron COMPLETE, UTTER, MASSIVE…. (fill in the missing words!) DWP Speaker March 2012

3 The approach to welfare reform Changes now and for the next 12 (or 9, or 6) months Impact of change Planning for change Preparing for the next changes Impacts on revenues and benefits

4 Impacts of changes that have happened

5 A reminder…….HB changes that have taken place People could keep the difference (if rent lower than LHA rate) – up to £15 per week Four bedroom rate –About 100 families affected January 2012 the shared rate of LHA extended to anyone under 35 years of age –About 500 people lost up to £40 per week Protection ran out for most people in Coventry in January 2012 LHA rates frozen from April 2013 uprated by CPI (rather than RPI)

6 Impact on people (in Coventry) LHA changes affected 10,000 people by an average of £11 per week weekly reduction from £1 to over £70 £5.7 million less benefit per annum

7 Outcomes? Too early to say? DHP applications up by 30% + –Additional DHP Officer appointed CAB report increased need – but not specific to cuts What will happen as protection runs out? Close links between Benefits and Housing More DHP funding on the way for 2013 changes Case studies have proved useful

8 Some examples based on DHP claims - Naomi Released from prison under the prisoner release scheme and had a history of drug dependency and prior to her sentence was a sex worker Due to past history could not move into shared accommodation Due to the changes in HB and her age (under 35) she was only going to be entitled to a maximum of £63.00 Both the probation service and her support worker believed that the only way that Naomi could be rehabilitated back into the community was to have self contained accommodation DHP payments have supported this

9 Tanya Age 31, currently living in a self contained one bedroom apartment. Lived in this property for 4 years, she has several medical issues to deal with and she has some level of learning disability Rent £110 per week. Prior to 20/02/12 Housing Benefit £103 pw LHA rate reduces to £63.00 per week. Shortfall £47.00 Advised that should be looking to reduce housing costs by trying to find more affordable accommodation. Explored the possibility of increasing income with a claim for DLA Agreed DHP of £47.00 per week for 13 weeks to explore alternative options

10 John and Kirsty Currently live in a 2 bedroom accommodation with their 5 year old daughter. Rent £121.15 pw HB reduced from £113.54 to £103.85 per week when protection ended on the 9 January 2012 Deductions at source from ESA and trying to clear rent arrears and some non priority debt - but just about managing. Engaged with them on a regular basis in regards to budgeting and money management Partner is extremely vulnerable several issues in regards to her mental health, some evidence of past addiction issues within the household. Moving or eviction would not be the best option for this family. Applied for DHP to cover the shortfall - £17.30 pw

11 Andy Age 34, currently living in a three bedroom house and has lived in this property for several years. He has been working and able to afford the rent since he first moved in. Rent £500 per calendar month. HB claimed in March 2011, LHA rate was £98.08 per week. Shortfall of £17.30 per week. HB claimed again in April 2012 LHA rate reduced to £63 per week. Shortfall of £52.38 per week. Advised to claim DHP

12 Planning for change

13 The approach in Coventry Welfare Reform Board –Chaired by DoF –Considers issues around CTS, Social fund reform –HB changes, ‘business as usual’ –CTS, the main focus Staff covering different roles Engaging with stakeholders –JC Plus staff know less about UC than we do!

14 The next changes

15 Benefit Cap April 2013, benefit payments for working age households capped. £500 for couples and lone parents. £350 for single people. It will be the HB that will be capped. 297 cases affected in Coventry. Next data scan due 9 July 2012 We will write/engage, linking with RSLs DWP writing to new people affected Further letters in September / October Taking low points of DWP estimates = £928,000 annual ‘loss’

16 RSL – under occupancy rules April 2013 working age customers who have more bedrooms than they need. Size criteria mirrors that for LHA claimants. For one “spare” bedroom – HB cut by 14%. For two or more – HB cut by 25%. Working with RSLs to identify those affected Direct customers to their landlord for advice. Around 4,400, average loss of £13pw = £2,974,000 Total loss per year by 31/3/13 = £9.6 million

17 Crisis loans and CCGs Coventry (2009/10) 14,650 applications for Crisis Loans for Living Expenses –10,840 received an award. – Around £590,000. 3,780 applications for Community Care Grants –1,840 were awarded – Around £875,000 £178 million spent in GB

18 Approach in Coventry (Local Welfare Assistance) Likely to be administered in Benefits Meetings –with CAB and Law Centre –Internal staff workshop 16th May –External stakeholders –Jobcentre Plus (twice) Options appraisal for Members –No cash –Try to deal with source of problem –Close links with 3rd sector

19 Council Tax Support

20 Update Informal communication event with stakeholders on 17 th May Met with Capita to understand the IT issues Labour Group 28 May – decision – go out to public consultation on three options: –Keep Current Scheme –Blanket 17% Reduction –Increase Taper to 65% DCLG – we must consult preceptors, then publish a draft scheme and then formal consultation Legal advice – must consult on one draft scheme Back to Labour Group to determine which of the three options we will consult on

21 What happens next Labour Group 9 July Write to preceptors Report to Cabinet 14 August Publish a draft scheme Public consultation – 8 weeks Evaluate the responses from the consultation Report to Council in December for final scheme approval No significant change to scheme or processes!

22 Implications for revenues and benefits So much change to plan for Capacity issues Timescales very stretching Pressure on ‘day job’ – paying benefit and collecting council tax Staff – multi-tasking …and Universal Credit on the horizon!

23 Tim Savill Head of Benefits Coventry City Council Email: Tel: 024 7683 2607

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