TAMWORTH Borough Council is inviting people to have their say this summer as part of two key consultations – including the all-important question of how spending is prioritised.
Members of the public are being encouraged to look out for consultations on the Budget and the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme, which will go live on the council’s website next week (August 1).
The Budget Consultation is one of the authority’s main annual consultation exercises and invites residents, businesses and voluntary groups across the town to share their views and make clear their choices on where – and how – money should be spent.
Whether you think we need to spend money on the town centre, events, keeping the town clean and green, or tackling anti-social behaviour, this is your chance to get involved and help shape future spending across the borough.
The aim of the Budget Consultation is to ensure the views of the people who live, work and volunteer in Tamworth are taken into account when spending priorities are determined.
Tamworth Borough Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Rob Pritchard, said: “We know that people have strong views on where the council should spend its money and they may share them with friends or on social media – getting involved in the Budget Consultation ensures these views can be heard and considered as part of the actual budget setting process.
“The views and feedback submitted as part of the Budget Consultation help us to form our spending priorities for the coming year, so this is your opportunity to have your say on how these important decisions are made on behalf of the people of Tamworth.
“It is incredibly important that as many people as possible let us know what council services matter to them most.
“We again face an incredibly difficult challenge in setting next year’s Budget in the face of continued reductions in Government grants, but a strong indication from the people of Tamworth about what we should be focusing on will give us a great start to that process.
“We would like to know what your spending priorities are; how you would prefer the budgets to be balanced and your views on spending reductions or council tax increases. I really would urge people to get involved.”
The Budget Consultation goes live on Wednesday, August 1, and will be available on the Tamworth Borough Council website at www.tamworth.gov.uk/consultation until September 14. At the end of the consultation, all the responses will go before the Council’s Cabinet for consideration and will help shape the future budgetary spend on council services.
The second consultation going live on August 1 is in relation to proposed changes to the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (LCTR), which determines when households may be able to pay reduced, or no, council tax.
One amendment has been proposed this year – that from April 2019, the LCTR policy for self-employed earners in receipt of Universal Credit is aligned with Universal Credit regulations.
Currently a claimant’s self-employed books and/or accounts are used to calculate net profit, and the current LCTR policy endorses this. Universal Credit calculates a ‘Minimum Income Floor’ if a claimant is self-employed and their business has been running for more than 12 months. The MIF is an assumed level of earnings, based on what an employed person is expected to receive. It would be calculated using the age-related National Minimum Wage, multiplied by the number of hours a claimant is expected to look for, and be available for, work (35 hours per week). It would also include a notional deduction for tax and National Insurance.
Tamworth Borough Council is asking for people’s views on this proposed change, as well as taking the opportunity to gauge opinion on the main points of the scheme, which has been in operation since April 1st 2013. The Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme consultation will also be available at www.tamworth.gov.uk/consultation and will run from August 1 until October 15th.
At the end of the consultation, all responses will be considered by the Cabinet before being finalised by the Full Council from April 2019.
Hard copies of both consultation forms will also be available from reception at Marmion House in Lichfield Street.