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Council tax discount for OAPs may be scrapped

By Katia Harston, Chief Reporter Saturday 4th January 2014

The future of a council tax discount for pensioners is to be considered by Barnsley Council because the cost of the scheme is likely to 'put more pressure on limited financial resources'.

 

The council has approved the pensioner discount every year since 2009/10 after recognising the difficulties elderly residents face in meeting annual council tax rises. The discount is not means tested and all claimants receive a flat rate, banded discount so they pay the same amount of council tax as it would have been in 2008/9.

 

A council report says there is a significant take up with 10,300 households claiming a total discount of £490,000. It means on average, each qualifying household receives an annual discount of about £47, although those in higher banded properties receive considerably more.

 

However, the council says it is under increasing financial pressure to deliver services while making millions of pounds of efficiency savings to meet budget targets in the coming years. The report says recent take up and data suggests if the scheme continues unchanged, discount claims will continue to increase, rising to more than 10,750 claimants by 2016/17.

 

That would see the cost of the scheme increase 'considerably' according to the report, costing the council about £602,000, rising to about £826,000 in 2015/16 and £1,060,000 in 2016/17. The report states: "The discount is not means tested and there is no evidence to suggest that retaining or removing it would have any significant detrimental impact on pensioners currently claiming the scheme.

 

"This report shows that, without further check, the cost of the scheme will continue to rise, putting more pressure on the council's already limited financial resources. Members therefore need to consider if the council can continue to financially support a non-statutory pensioner discount scheme in this current climate."

 

Several options have been outlined for the pensioner discount scheme including removing the pensioner discount immediately, having a phased removal over a number of years, extending the scheme or restricting it to certain council tax property bands. The report says: "The options are put forward for consideration. It is recommended however that approval be given to phasing out the council tax pensioner discount scheme over a five year period from 2014/15."

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Posted by The Terminator I Sat 4th Jan 2014 at 5:42pm

Why start cutting the costs at OAP`s. Most of these folk have paid their taxes and have fought for this Country, so cut them a bit of slack. Let’s start cutting the costs with the hand outs the immigrants get. They contributed “sweet F.A” to our society and yet they are entitled to claim the same as our folk and MORE!!. If we went to their Country, we would get nothing compared to what they get here, so how is this, a level playing field. I have just been into Barnsley and it is full of them, surprisingly most of them have kids. I ask the BARNSLEY COUNCIL, to give us, the “Barnsley Folk” a “TRUE AND ACCURATE” detailed itinerary on how much is spent on them. A reply under this story would be “MUCH APPRECIATED”, but I am not holding my breath! Most Barnsley folk have had it “ingrained” in them over the years to vote Labour, but things have now changed and it’s about time that Barnsley folk, especially the elderly had a good look at what the Labour Party is now doing for them, compared to what it used to do! VOTE UKIP!!

Posted by jack I Tue 7th Jan 2014 at 7:23am

SPOT ON MATE I WILL BE VOTING UKIP THIS TIME

Posted by dastruth I Wed 8th Jan 2014 at 1:12am

I have an efficiency saving suggestion, cut the amount of councilors per ward from 3 to 1 saving at least £26k a year per ward

Posted by The Terminator I Wed 8th Jan 2014 at 3:55pm

BARNSLEY COUNCIL!! I am still waiting!

Posted by TelP I Wed 8th Jan 2014 at 9:10pm

Absolutely spot on. This council is just as rotten as our government,and they are Tory,s, when it comes to the indigenous of our country in relation to any immigrant, the immigrant is almost always favoured and has been for over twenty years. Another UKIP voter that can,t wait for the next election,, local or national.

Posted by Jimbo I Fri 10th Jan 2014 at 2:28pm

The council wastes millions every year, it is a complete waste of money, but it is OK because the pensioners will pay, this is completely wrong.

There is "no evidence" because nobody had looked for evidence.

Posted by M Herring I Sat 25th Jan 2014 at 5:25pm

Look to yourselves first Barnsley MBC councillors. How much waste is there 'employing' so many councillors and then paying them 000's of pounds in expenses. At one time I remember councillors were local people who wanted to help their own areas and they did it without costing the thousands of pounds that this lot do. Doesn't matter what party they are from, they all have their snouts in the trough and the poor public pay for it.

Posted by BB I Sun 26th Jan 2014 at 7:57pm

Time for BMBC to take a long hard look at how it can cut costs by managing its services more efficiently. No chance of them doing that though

Posted by THE TERMINATOR I Fri 31st Jan 2014 at 6:20pm

BARNSLEY COUNCIL; Nearly 4 weeks has passed and still no reply!! SPINELESS PEOPLE!!!!

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