Published on October 16th, 2013 | by Kelly Rose Bradford0
Councils counting child maintenance as household income for council tax calculations
Gingerbread, the charity for lone parents, has called for councils to stop charging higher council tax rates to single parents who are in receipt of child maintenance payments.
Twenty-two local councils in England currently count maintenance as household income, meaning some single parent families get a lower level discount on their council tax.
Gingerbread’s chief executive, Fiona Weir, said: “More than 300 councils, all of whom are facing tough decisions, have recognised the importance of child maintenance for single parent families by keeping it out of their council tax support calculations.
“Children from single parent families are already twice as likely to be poor as children from couple families and it’s vital that those who do get child maintenance feel the full benefit of that support.”
One council which includes maintenance payments in its calculations is Crawley Borough Council, who say they are in the process of reviewing their Council Tax Reduction Scheme to support the most vulnerable.
Speaking to the Crawley News, a council spokesman said a final decision on changes had not yet been made.
He said: “We have recently been out to consultation on proposed changes to our Council Tax Reduction Scheme. One of these proposals was to disregard £15 a week of child maintenance from April 2014. Results of this consultation are currently being reviewed.”
The spokesman added that the council had to make ‘difficult decisions’ when creating their scheme ‘due to the cut in funding’.
The 22 authorities who Gingerbread have written to about child maintenance and council tax rates are: Bath and North East Somerset, Mendip, South Somerset, West Somerset, Taunton Deane, Bolton, Brentwood, Cannock Chase, Chelmsford, Colchester, Crawley, Doncaster, Epping Forest, Huntingdonshire, Maldon, Rochford, Rushmoor, Slough, Stafford, Tamworth, Tendring and Waverley.