Public debate on benefits cut

Councillor David Dodds
Councillor David Dodds

Thame residents are to be asked for their views on potential changes to the area’s council tax benefit system.

As part of the Government’s welfare reforms, the current council tax benefit scheme is to be replaced by a locally-run scheme.

From 2013, funds provided by the Government to reimburse councils for money paid out to claimants are to be reduced by around 10%. This could mean a reduction in payments to claimants.

However, South Oxfordshire District Council said all the district councils in Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire County Council and the police authority are working together to ensure that support provided will continue to protect all claimants in 2013/14 and, from April 2014 a scheme that will protect pensioners and the most vulnerable.

It said there should therefore be no impact for claimants in 2013/14.

However, from April 2014 councils in Oxfordshire may need to make changes to the local scheme in order to meet the 10% cent grant reduction.

Consultation on the proposals will take place shortly.

Councillor David Dodds, cabinet member of finance, said: “We continue to support many families throughout the district who are on lower incomes.

“The benefits system is changing and it is important that those who depend on this support have their say and let us know how they think the new arrangements could work to ensure they are not disadvantaged.”