Brentwood Borough Council

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Brentwood Borough Council

FOI 7649

Housing Benefit Claimants on ESA/JSA

Request

How many Brentwood housing benefit / council tax claimants on JSA / (ESA - do people in receipt of ESA have to pay this?) have to now pay part of their £71.70 per week to Brentwood Council towards their council tax?

How much is this per week?

Is it always £4.00 taken off benefit per person, per week? Leaving them with £67.70 per week to pay for heating, water, food, clothes, transport, household goods, emergencies etc ...?
How much does that bring in to / save Brentwood Council per year?

Is there any correlation between the introduction of this 'claw back' and rise in use of local food banks?

Bearing in mind many in receipt of JSA may actually be sick or disabled people denied ESA by ATOS.

Response

We have a total of approx 660 claimants currently in receipt of IS/JSA who fall into the “working age other” group for LCTS purposes. These claimants are awarded 80% of their Council Tax liability in the form of LCTS and are expected to contribute the remaining 20% from their own income. This is not a “standard” amount of £4 – the amount of the contribution will vary according to the total Council Tax liability for the claimant’s home.

Those claimants who are in receipt of ESA (work related component) will also fall into the “working age group” and are expected to contribute 20% of the liability towards the Council Tax with the other 80% being covered by LCTS. At the moment we have approximately 48 claimants that fall into this category. As with the IS/JSA claimants, the amount of the contribution from the claimant will vary according to the total Council Tax liability for the claimant’s home.

Those claimants that are in receipt of ESA (support component) and are therefore classified as “vulnerable” are not required to contribute 20% towards their Council Tax. This part of the scheme is at least as generous, if not more so, than the former Council Tax Benefit.

Regarding the cost of Brentwood’s scheme, individual changes from Council Tax Benefit to Council Tax Support are hard to model because the entitlement of an individual may be affected by other changes, such as removal of non dependent deductions or inclusion of child benefit. The overall scheme provides for more protection for the disabled and vulnerable than Council Tax Benefit and adds enhancements to the pensioner scheme.

The effect of all of the changes to Council Tax Support has reduced the cost to the taxpayer from £4.3 million to £3.8 million. Our scheme is designed to reward employment and protect the vulnerable, while meeting a requirement from our preceptors to be cost neutral to Council Tax payers.

I am unable to say whether there is any correlation between the introduction of this "claw back" and rise in use of local food banks as this would be speculation.