GOVERNMENT cuts will see council tax benefits reduced by 8.5 per cent in the Ashbourne area.
Pensioners will not be affected by the cuts, but the welfare reforms implemented by the Coalition Government means Derbyshire Dales District Council has to find savings of £400,000 over the next two years.
Council tax breaks for empty properties and second homes will be cut, while working-age claimants of council tax benefits will see an 8.5 per cent reduction in their discount.
The new council tax benefit scheme was adopted by the district council at a meeting on Thursday, January 24.
From April 1, district councils will launch local schemes for council tax assistance after the government abolished the national council tax benefit scheme.
Funding from the government has also been slashed by 10 per cent.
A Hardship Relief Fund has been set up by the district council to help people in exceptional circumstances for a limited time.
Leader of Derbyshire Dales District Council, Councillor Lewis Rose said: “The Government has given us no choice but to make changes that will affect local people.
“We have worked hard to develop a scheme that balances the need for savings with maintaining protection for vulnerable households.”
Eligibility for the new scheme will be based on the existing benefit arrangements, with the current rules used to calculate tax support, although all claimants of working age will be hit with an 8.5 per cent reduction.
Pensioners will be protected from the cuts, while income from war pensions, War Widows, War Widowers and War Disablement pensions will be ignored for people still of working age when calculating their entitlement.
Extra help will be considered for those most affected by the changes and new claims do not need to be submitted.