17th September 2012

Dorset Councils Consulting on Changes
to Council Tax Support

Local residents are urged to give their feedback as consultation begins on proposed localised Council Tax Support schemes in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset.

Following the government's decision to replace the national system of Council Tax Benefit with localised Council Tax Support, councils in Bournemouth, Poole and the rest of Dorset have launched a consultation on their draft local schemes.

From April 2013, Council Tax Support will be administered by local district and borough councils with the government giving ten per cent less funding than the current national system.

Since the government announced these proposals, all of Dorset's councils have been working together to come up with local schemes which maintain support for the most vulnerable, including pensioners, but working with less government funding. The draft schemes propose that most working age residents who qualify for Council Tax Support will be required to pay a minimum contribution to their Council Tax.

A consultation takes place across the county from Monday 10 September until Monday, 5th November so that residents can give their views on the draft scheme for their area.

The councils are writing to everyone of working age currently receiving Council Tax Benefit and asking them to complete a questionnaire with their views on the proposals. All residents, regardless of whether they claim Council Tax Benefit or not, are encouraged to complete the questionnaire on the councils' websites or can request paper copies to complete.

David Barnes, the Project Leader of the Pan-Dorset group working on Council Tax Support, said: The government has given us a real challenge by transferring responsibility to local councils to deliver a suitable scheme while reducing funding by ten per cent. This is a complicated issue and we have had to take some difficult decisions in coming up with our draft schemes.

In essence our draft Council Tax Support schemes mean that all Council Tax Benefit claimants of working age, except the most vulnerable, will now have to pay something towards their Council Tax in line with the government's aim to encourage unemployed people back into work and make work pay.

Pensioners and other vulnerable people will not be affected and will continue to receive the same level of support as now.

More information about the proposed schemes and questionnaires are available to be completed online at:

The final decision on the Council Tax Support schemes for Dorset will be made by 31st January 2013 with the schemes taking effect from April 2013.


The number of people currently receiving Council Tax Benefit in Dorset's district and borough councils are as follows:

  • Bournemouth
  • Poole
  • Christchurch
  • East Dorset
  • North Dorset
  • Purbeck
  • West Dorset
  • Weymouth and Portland
  • Total
  • 18,716
  • 12,082
  • 4,168
  • 5,210
  • 4,542
  • 3,388
  • 7,449
  • 6,666
  • 62,221

Across the county around half of these are pensioners.

The following amounts are currently spent on Council Tax Benefit:

  • Bournemouth
  • Poole
  • Christchurch
  • East Dorset
  • North Dorset
  • Purbeck
  • West Dorset
  • Weymouth and Portland
  • Total
  • £16,428,276
  • £10,634,000
  • £4,141,914
  • £5,517,533
  • £4,319,690
  • £3,438,034
  • £7,165,180
  • £6,116,179
  • £57,760,806

Apart from pensioners, other groups which the draft schemes seek to protect are:

  • People who are severely disabled (receiving the highest rate of Disability Living Allowance)
  • People with a disability receiving certain disability benefits
  • People who have a disabled child
  • Full-time carers receiving Carer's Allowance
  • People receiving war disablement, war widows or widowers pension

Other proposals in the draft schemes include no longer giving any Council Tax Support for a householder who has a second adult on a low income living with them and that there should be a limit on the lowest amount given. Those entitled to support of less than 50p per week would therefore not receive anything.