People in North Devon and Torridge reminded the new benefits system will be introduced on April 1.

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HOUSEHOLDERS have been reminded there is now less than four weeks to go until major changes to the benefits system are introduced in North Devon and Torridge.

From Monday, April 1, Council Tax Benefit is being scrapped by the government, with local councils being left to set up new local Council Tax Support schemes instead.

This will mean changes for all other people from 18 to under pension age, whether they are in employment or not.

Letters have already gone out to more than 4,000 people in North Devon and almost 3,000 in Torridge, informing them that they will need to pay a larger share of their council tax bill.

For more than half of them, this will mean paying something towards their bills for the first time. Actual council tax bills to all homes across both districts will go out in the next couple of weeks.

“We have been highlighting for some time now that these benefit changes are to take place,” said North Devon Council’s executive member for community, Councillor Yvette Gubb.

“Letters have gone out to everyone we think will have to pay more and I would urge anyone who is concerned about paying their council tax to contact us now so that we can advise them.”

Torridge District Council Leader, Councillor Barry Parsons, added: “Our teams have been contacting Torridge residents likely to be affected by these changes and we’re also holding an event at Pollyfield in Bideford on Wednesday, March 20.”

Both councils are continuing to work towards supporting people who are likely to be adversely affected. Anyone concerned about the welfare reform changes, can contact North Devon Council’s benefits team on 01271 388871, email benefits@northdevon.gov.uk or Torridge District Council’s benefits team on 01237 428700 or email benefits@torridge.gov.uk.

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