A NEW scheme to be introduced by Chichester District Council in 2018/19 will ensure households on low incomes will continue to receive support to pay their council tax.

Four years ago, new rules were introduced by the Government which abolished the council tax benefit scheme that had helped people on low incomes.

Councils were then allowed to develop their own schemes to help those of working age pay their council tax.

Following a review of its council tax reduction scheme and a public consultation in the summer, the council is introducing a banded scheme for working age customers who receive universal credit.

Chichester DC is also adapting its discretionary policy to allow an additional amount of council tax reduction to be made where a claimant suffers financial hardship as a result of the banded scheme.

Philippa Hardwick, cabinet member for finance and governance, said: “If the previous scheme had been left unchanged, then the amount of council tax reduction awarded could have changed from month to month.

“A banded scheme will make it easier for households to understand and budget.

“This scheme will also be easier and more cost-effective to administer.

“As a council we want to continue to support people on low incomes and we are very proud of the fact that this has always been a priority for us.

“The introduction of universal credit is a big change and so we want to ensure that we make things as easy as we can for people, so that they know what they will be paying each month. Changing our discretionary policy will also allow us to be flexible to each person’s circumstances.”