PEOPLE in Gosport are being invited to have their say on plans to change tax benefits in the town as the council battles to save more than £500,000.
Cuts from central government mean Gosport Borough Council has to save around £560,000 next year to meet a gap in funding for council tax benefits.
The benefits are currently run by the government, but from April next year local authorities have to take over the role of dishing them out themselves – with less money to do it with.
For people in Gosport, it means the total amount of benefit a person is entitled to will reduce and every person of working age will have to pay towards their council tax bill.
Now the council has launched a public consultation into the plans and is asking residents if the changes are fair.
The leader of the council Councillor Mark Hook said: ‘We believe our proposed scheme is the fairest way to protect the vulnerable, support people in work, ensure a fair and proportionate scheme and achieve the savings required under the constraints set by government.
‘However, these are major changes and it’s important residents have the opportunity to have their say.
‘Only by them knowing fully what those changes are and sharing their views with us can we shape the best and fairest scheme possible.’
The council is holding a public consultation on the proposals for its Local Council Tax Support scheme until November 30.
Any changes will only affect those who are of working age.
Those who have reached the age for state pension credit will not be affected and will continue to receive the same level of support they do now.
The amount of cash the council will have to save is not yet finalised but the budget will be reduced by anywhere between 10 and 15 per cent.
A summary of the plans and a consultation
questionnaire which can be filled out online can be viewed by visiting gosport.gov.uk/lcts
You can also pick up a printed version of the documents at Gosport’s town hall in High Street or by calling (023) 9254 5325.