'Let us know your benefits reform view'
RESIDENTS in south Somerset have just over two weeks to have their say on changes to the council tax benefit system.
South Somerset District Council is set to lose £1.3m when the Government hands over control of council tax benefit to local authorities.
The district council has devised a series of proposals to cover the cash gap – or it may look to increase council tax or cut the range and level of services it provides.
The proposed changes might see people who currently pay no council tax make a contribution, while others who pay part of their council tax may have to pay more.
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Up to 70 residents attended an information session in Yeovil on Thursday, reported Ian Potter, revenues and benefits manager at the council.
He said: "A range of people have come in; some that get benefits and want to know what's happening, as well as people who aren't on benefits. The great thing is everybody wants to put their views forward.
"The whole point of the consultation is we get as many people giving us their views so members understand what their residents are thinking."
Under the proposals, vulnerable groups such as pensioners, war widows and the disabled will continue to be protected.
Those most heavily affected will be working families.
An information session will be held in Wincanton this morning from 9am to midday in The Meeting Room, Council Offices, Churchfields.
The final session will be in Langport next Thursday from 9am to midday in Great Bow Wharf, on Bow Street.
Residents can have their say on the proposals by visiting www.southsomerset.gov.uk/benefitsconsultation for an online questionnaire. A paper version is available from council offices. Alternatively, call the help line on 01935 468404.
The consultation finishes on Friday, October 5.