Horizon compensation payments won’t affect council tax support across Wales
Twm Owen Local Democracy Reporter
Former sub-postmasters who’ve been compensated for the Horizon scandal will not be denied help with paying their council tax.
The Welsh Government funds a council tax reduction scheme for all 22 unitary authorities in Wales to help people with limited incomes pay their council tax bills and can cover up to 100 per cent of the charge depending on individual circumstances.
As an example, Monmouthshire County Council approved its policy for the upcoming financial year at its January 18 meeting and the cabinet member for finance Cllr Ben Callard said a payment made under the scheme to compensate victims of the Post Office Horizon scandal wouldn’t count against any qualification for the benefit.
He said: “Any compensation from the Horizon compensation scheme will not be considered this year.”
The compensation scheme provides payments to people who ran Post Offices and were wrongly blamed for accounting shortages which were actually caused by the government owned company’s computer system.
Payments from the Infected Blood Inquiry, made to those infected, bereaved partners and beneficiaries of a deceased parent’s estate are also disregarded as are Widowed Parents Allowance back payments, Bereavement Support back payments and the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme – paid under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979.
All payments will be disregarded indefinitely, except for Bereavement Support back payments which are subject to a 12 month disregard.
The council has set aside £8.3 million to cover the cost, based on a possible seven per cent council tax rise so may have to find slightly more due to the proposed 7.5 per cent rise, and it current data shows there are some 5,550 active claims under the scheme. It has said around 36 per cent of households in Monmouthshire are eligible.
Information on eligibility is available on the council’s website and Cllr Callard said he enouraged councillors to share that with residents.
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