CIVIC chiefs have approved a new scheme to apply for a reduction in council tax.

Residents across the district will now be able to register for the discount in a quicker and easier manner.

The revised method also helps those receiving benefits.

On average, a claimant's universal credit will change around eight to 12 times a year.

With the previous scheme, these changes would mean the claimant would have their council tax reduction recalculated – every single time.

Now, this is a thing of the past, says Cllr Neil Cutler, who has spearheaded the new method.

He told a full council meeting: "Not only will our residents be able to claim promptly, the changes to the system will mean that the recalculations are unnecessary.

"This is a more consistent way of doing things – our residents will know exactly what reduction they will be receiving.

"There will be the odd occasion that a change in universal credit will mean see a change in banding, but this will be nothing compared to before.

"The continual changes will not impact reductions, and residents will also be able to backdate claims more easily."

Members of the council approved the new scheme unanimously.

Cllr Stephen Godfrey said: "I welcome this new system with open arms.

"Winchester can rightly claim back the title of having the best council tax reduction scheme in the country."