A major consultation is being launched to protect vulnerable people in Harrow borough from losing benefits.

Council tax support is currently paid to 15,800 people in Harrow who fall into categories including pensioners, who receive 39 per cent towards their bill, single parents, the disabled and families on low incomes.

The Government ended council tax benefits on April 1, 2013 and gave councils across the country the responsibility to develop their own council tax reduction schemes.

Harrow Council now has the opportunity to see how its scheme has worked over the past year and make changes.

It is asking residents to give their views on how council tax support should be directed to those most in need.

Councillor Sachin Shah, who is responsible for finance and major contracts, said: “This situation results from the cuts that have been imposed on the council by the Government. Harrow, like other councils, is being forced to cut tens of millions from its budget over the coming years as part of an ongoing Government requirement for savings.

“I am committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our society from cuts from the Government and council tax support is designed to do just that. While pensioners will remain protected, there may be difficult choices ahead for other residents who currently get council tax support.

“It is vitally important that we hear from those potentially affected.”

Harrow residents received £16.3 million in council tax support last year.