A PUBLIC consultation has been launched by Wychavon District Council on proposed changes to Council Tax Benefit.

The Government is abolishing the national scheme that provides financial help for people on low or no income with their Council Tax on March 31, 2013. All councils have to replace it with their own support schemes and it means Wychavon will have to set up a new scheme from April.

Wychavon’s proposals for the replacement Council Tax support scheme for 2013/14 are available at wychavon.gov.uk/ct12 and residents are asked for their views. The six-week consultation closes on October 26, 2012.

Vic Allison, deputy managing director at Wychavon, said: “The changes we’re consulting on aren’t radically different to the national scheme as it stands, but we want to gain views from residents about the proposals.”

Under the proposals, no one in Wychavon of working age would be able to claim Council Tax support higher than the maximum amount payable for a band D property. However, the majority of working age claimants in the district live in properties in bands A to D.

Wychavon are also proposing to establish a discretionary hardship fund, which people can apply to for additional help with their Council Tax bill.

The Government is setting up a separate scheme for pensioners, so only working age people will be affected by the proposed changes. If further changes need to be made to the local Council Tax support scheme in future years, Wychavon will consult again.

To give views on these proposals, go to wychavon.gov.uk/ct12. Printed copies of the consultation can be downloaded from the website or collected from Community Contact Centres in Droitwich, Evesham and Pershore or by calling 01386 565333.