Issue 17 January 2020

Matters

New Council Tax Support Scheme

Council Tax SupportWe've updated our Council Tax Support Scheme to make it simpler, more transparent and easier for people to understand.

The Council Tax Support Scheme offers a discount that helps low income households of working age to pay their Council Tax. There are currently about 3,200 people of working age in Mid Sussex who are eligible for a Council Tax reduction under our support scheme.

The changes, which will be effective from 1 April 2020, bring the Mid Sussex Council Tax Support Scheme into line with the Government's Universal Credit. Recipients of Universal Credit can find that the amount received varies slightly from month to month and this creates complications for the existing Council Tax Support Scheme. Each time the amount changes, even by just a few pence, the taxpayer’s support automatically changes, as well as the amount they pay in Council Tax.

On average, 40% of Universal Credit recipients have between eight and twelve changes per year in the amount they receive. People are confused by the constant change this creates in the level of Council Tax Support they receive and it leaves them unsure about just how much Council Tax they are required to pay.

Our updated Council Tax Support Scheme places recipients into bands based on the income of their household. This simplified approach means only significant changes in income will affect the level of discount awarded, making it much easier for people to understand the amount of Council Tax they have to pay.

The new banded Council Tax Support Scheme makes the whole process much simpler. Payments are more consistent, there is a greater degree of transparency and it is much more straightforward to understand.

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West Sussex County Council is reminding residents that they need to take ID with them when they visit a West Sussex Household Waste Recycling Site (HWRS).

The new system is designed to save West Sussex taxpayers £250,000 per year by ensuring the sites are only used by those who pay for them.

Householders will need to prove they live within West Sussex by showing a form of ID such as a drivers licence or council tax bill.

The scheme has been introduced due to the high number of people travelling across county boundaries to recycle and dispose of their waste. This has a significant impact on waste disposal costs which ultimately fall to the West Sussex taxpayer.

Surveys have shown that an average of one in ten people using HWRSs closest to the county borders live outside of West Sussex.

At East Grinstead, this can increase to as many as one in five people. Residents in certain areas of Surrey will be able to continue using the East Grinstead Household Waste Recycling Site, following an agreement between Surrey and West Sussex County Councils. All other sites in West Sussex are restricted to West Sussex residents only.

Further details about the changes can be found when visiting HWRSs and at www.recycleforwestsussex.org/