CHANGES to council tax benefit could affect more than 5,300 working age Island residents — with some seeing a reduction in support.

The Isle of Wight Council has announced a two-month consultation, launched today (June 10), on potential changes to the Island’s Local Council Tax Support Scheme.

Islanders are being asked for their views on a series of options, which have been influenced by national changes — including the introduction of Universal Credit and reductions in government grant funding.

The current scheme provides up to 70 per cent council tax support for people on certain benefits and low incomes, and the new options maintain this maximum. There is additional support for some residents.

The three new options under consideration would replace the existing means-testing approach with a new system, which it states will simplify calculations and make it easier for people to budget.

Some Islanders might see an increase in their council tax support and others a reduction. Those of pension age will not be affected.

If approved, changes could be made from April 2020.

The options include introducing a new income grid scheme to help calculate the council tax support claimants might receive, taking into account the national introduction of Universal Credit.

There are also options to disregard Carers Allowance or any payment made under the Infected Blood and Thalidomide Regulations, which are currently taken into account as income.

IW Council leader, Cllr Dave Stewart, said: "I would strongly urge people to register their views on this consultation, which may potentially affect the council tax support for a significant number of claimants.

"National factors, such as Universal Credit, have necessitated the need to bring in a revised scheme — and the options have been drawn up following careful consideration of a range of alternatives.

"The consultation includes an explanation of how the options might work, and it is important to stress to Islanders on low incomes that we will continue to retain and operate a hardship fund for those in particular need."

More information can be found within the consultation document, at

Paper copies can be requested by calling 823950.

The consultation closes on August 5, with recommendations to the full council in November.

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