Claimants face council tax rise to plug deficit

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Barnsley is facing a funding black hole of £3.6 million due to the Government’s shake up of the welfare system - and the council is looking for feedback from the public on how to tackle it.

Council tax benefit was replaced last year by a new council tax support scheme but national funding to pay for it was cut by ten per cent, leaving a £1.6 million shortfall.

To close the deficit council tax charges on empty properties and second homes were increased. But pensioners were protected, while working age claimants were supported for up to 85 per cent of their council tax charge, a system still in place.

Without changes the shortfall will grow and the council is considering asking claimants to foot more of the bill. Possible options could see claimants paying up to 30 per cent.