Universal credit threat to tax cut
A COUNCIL tax reduction scheme for Bristol’s poorest households is to be reviewed because of universal credit changes.
The scheme, which costs £35 million, provides discounted council tax for more than 36,000 households on a low income or benefits.
Bristol City Council has agreed to fully fund the scheme for the coming financial year but has said it intends to review it after that. However the council insists that, even after the review, the scheme will continue to support “those that need it”.
Green councillor for Clifton Down Clive Stevens told cabinet members: “The idea of a review for 2020/21 rings alarm bells.”
But Labour deputy mayor and Hillfields councillor Craig Cheney assured him that the council was committed to maintaining the scheme. Mr Cheney, who has responsibility for council finance, said the authority needed to review the scheme to ensure no one misses out as a result of the introduction of universal credit. The scheme protects about 12,000 pensioners and 25,000 low-income households in Bristol at a cost to the council of about £35.1million.
Cabinet members supported Mr Cheney’s proposal to continue a fully funded scheme for 2019/20 at a meeting on February 5. The council was due to set its full budget for next year on February 26.