Plans to give local councils control over the awarding of council tax benefit have been published for consultation by coalition ministers.
At present the rules governing who is entitled to claim the benefit are decided at national level despite council’s being responsible for setting and collecting council tax.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has unveiled proposals to devolve responsibility for the benefit to councils, a move ministers suggest could save taxpayers “up to £480 million a year”.
The proposals follow a suggestion by ministers that councils be allowed to retain the majority of business rates they collect.
Mr Pickles said the proposed changes would mean councils were “much better placed to attract new business and industry, better placed to help their residents get off welfare and reap the benefits of work instead.
“They will directly benefit from improving the prosperity of the local area that will in turn drive down their benefit bill.”
The consultation document can be read here.