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Angela Welcomes Action So More People Can Get Help with their Council Tax

Local MP, Angela Smith has welcomed the announcement that Council Tax Benefit will be renamed as Council Tax Rebate as part of the campaign to encourage pensioners to claim the help they are entitled to.

The move follows campaigns, including by the Royal British Legion, who raised concerns that pensioners are reluctant to claim a ‘benefit’. By renaming Council Tax Benefit as a ‘rebate’ they hope more pensioners will take up help.

Angela said:

“I welcome this name change to make sure that people in our area get the proper support when they retire. Thanks to this Labour Government, since last November, people have been able to claim Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit in just one easy free phone call, without the need to sign and return any claim forms.

Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper added:

"Changing the name makes it clearer that many pensioners are entitled to this money back on their council tax rather than seeing it as a separate benefit that they may not want to claim. We've listened to the Royal British Legion and others who've called for this change."

The Government will now work with local councils, the Royal British Legion and other stakeholder organisations on the administrative steps and costs involved for local authorities before setting out the final timetable for implementing the change across the country.

Powers to rename Council Tax Benefit have been taken in an amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill which is going through final stages of Parliamentary scrutiny.

Renaming Council Tax Benefit is just one part of an ongoing programme of awareness campaigns and measures aimed at encouraging the take up of our benefits and make claiming simpler. Since November last year, pensioners have been able to apply for support with their Council Tax and Housing costs through an initiative that allows people to avoid pages of paper work and make a claim for this support and Pension Credit in just one free phone call. Earlier this year we wrote out to 200,000 pensioners encouraging them to apply for Council Tax Benefit, and the Pension Service makes 13,000 home visits every week.

Issued : 11 November 2009

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