THIS IS the last chance for residents to take part in the consultation process into proposals to change the rules on how much council tax support is given to those residents on the lowest incomes.
South Hams Council introduced its own council tax reduction scheme to replace council tax benefit which was abolished in April, 2013.
The government announced councils must design their own council tax reduction scheme each year for working age residents but with reduced funding. Pensioners have been protected so are unaffected by these changes.
Last year, the district council decided on a one-year solution to fund the difference between the old benefit system and the new council tax reduction scheme for 2013/14.
This meant those entitled to a reduction in council tax were given the same level of help as the previous council tax benefit system.
The council's decision also allowed those residents affected to adjust to other benefit changes which were being introduced as part of the government's welfare reforms.
The council is now reviewing the current scheme and is proposing a series of options to change it from April 2014.
Council leader Cllr John Tucker said: "We need to start reviewing the reduction scheme for next year, which, in light of the cuts to the council's overall budget, will inevitably mean making some tough decisions.
"There are four options for change before us. We need our residents to give us their views on what options we should choose and help us shape the reduction scheme to ensure it is fair to all. It may be a number of these options are chosen but we need to know what our residents think."
The options on the table are that:
All working age households who receive a council tax reduction would pay up to a 25 per cent minimum council tax charge.
Those receiving a council tax reduction and living in a property of band E or above will have their entitlement reduced to the same level as a band D property.
No council tax reduction will be paid to households with more than £6,000 in savings.
The council provides a fund to help and support those in extreme financial difficulties.
To take part in the consultation, which ends on Monday, October 7, you can complete a survey online at www.southhams.gov.uk/ctreduction
Alternatively call the council on 01803 861234 for a printed copy or visit the council's offices at Follaton House, Plymouth Road, Totnes.