A SHAKE-UP of the welfare system will lead to fewer people receiving council tax benefit.

The Government is in the process of devolving parts of the benefits system to local councils as part its Welfare Reform Act.

Kirklees Council – along with all other local authorities – must introduce a new system to localise council tax support for working age customers and make up a shortfall in Government funding.

The council has now completed a consultation and says the people it surveyed agreed with its strategy to reduce support to some working age claimants by a third in order to protect the most vulnerable.

The council says the consultation also revealed strong backing for making work more attractive for those that are available to work.

Director of Resources, David Smith, said: “We have some difficult choices to make in the council budget and in the creation of our local scheme.

“We have looked to protect the most vulnerable – for example the severely disabled – and there is overall public support for the draft scheme.

“However, the consultation also showed that there is real concern about the overall impact of the changes on local people’s financial circumstances and on their lives more generally.”

Deputy leader of Kirklees Council, Clr David Sheard, said: “We have to consider both the long and short term effects of the different options.

“We do not relish the task and whatever decision we take will be taken reluctantly.”

Councillors will discuss the consultation and recommendations for the new scheme will be made at the full council meeting on Wednesday, December 5.