Energy Switch and Save launches in district

Households in the District of Blaby could make big energy savings as part of the new Blaby Switch & Save scheme, in partnership with iChoosr.

Blaby Switch & Save is part of the nationwide Collective Switching scheme, bringing together thousands of people from across the country looking for a better energy price.

Energy companies compete in the scheme by offering the lowest rate in an auction to registered users. The more people registered, the lower the price could be.

Auctions take place throughout the year with those who register receiving a free, no obligation offer from the successful energy provider(s) that have bid the most competitive rate in the auction.

Households choosing to take up the offer will have their new provider organise the transfer, making it an easy and smooth process.

John Richardson, Strategic Director at Blaby District Council, said: “We’re delighted to launch Blaby Switch & Save and be part of such a successful scheme which has seen over 325,000 households nationally register for the chance to reduce their energy costs.

“Moving energy suppliers can be a long and difficult process, meaning some stay with their current provider despite continued price rises. We hope that this scheme gives many residents a hassle-free opportunity to save themselves a lot of money on their energy bills.”

Blaby District Council’s Resident Support officers and partners Supporting Leicestershire Families will be promoting the service to the most vulnerable families in the district to encourage them to keep their energy costs as low as possible.

For more information, a detailed frequently asked questions page and to register, visit www.blaby.gov.uk/switch.

Consultation launches on Council Tax Support changes

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A consultation on changes to the Council Tax Support Scheme has been launched by Blaby District Council from 17 August, closing on 30 September 2018.

Following significant reductions in central government funding, the Council no longer receives money based on the Council Tax support provided to households. This money must now be found by Blaby District Council through its central budget.

In order to make up the shortfall following the funding cut, the Council has launched a consultation on changes which could save hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, and is seeking residents’ views.

Proposals include a 200% Council Tax charge on properties that have been empty for more than two years. This is part of the Council’s drive to bring long term empty properties back into use across the district.

Other changes include no longer giving an unfurnished and unoccupied property a one-month free period of Council Tax, removing the 10% discount for second homes in the district and no longer offering a 50% discount on Council Tax to properties undergoing major repair or structural works.

If all four proposed changes were made it could save up to £400,000 per year for Blaby District Council, Leicestershire County Council, Leicestershire Police Authority, Leicestershire Fire Authority and local parish councils.

The consultation also includes proposals on Council Tax Support Scheme. Currently around 5,000 households receive a means-tested discount. All households currently pay at least 15% towards their Council Tax bill.

Four options are being considered in the consultation, including reducing the maximum support from 85% to 83%, 80% or 78%. A reduction to 78% would save around £300,000 per year.

There will be no change to the amount of help for people of pension age credit, the 25% single person discount or the exemption for those who are severely mentally impaired and living alone.

Councillor Lee Breckon, Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “This is an important consultation and we want as many residents as possible to have their say to help us shape the difficult decisions we have to make.

“The consultation is open until 30 September and we encourage people to read the booklet which gives clear information on the proposals and savings that could be made before having their say.

“Any savings would be shared between ourselves, Leicestershire County Council, the Fire and Rescue Service, Leicestershire Police and Parish Councils.”

Residents can visit www.blaby.gov.uk/consultation to find the consultation booklet and fill in the online consultation form. A paper copy is also available on the website or via request on 0116 272 7510.