Council Tax Reduction Scheme
Council Tax Reduction Scheme (also known as Council Tax Support).
Full Council met to consider this matter on 7 November 2012. This page sets out the scheme as decided upon at that meeting.
- Council Tax Benefit will be replaced by the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (also known as Council Tax Support) from 1 April 2013
- Pensioners will be protected
- Everyone of working age will pay something:
-Current working age Council Tax Benefit claimants will see a reduction in support of up to 5% of their Council Tax bill in 2013/14
-New working age claimants from 1 April 2013 will be able to apply for means tested support of up to 95% of their bill
- All other methods of calculating eligibility and entitlement will remain the same - no change
- The Council will consider giving further assistance to those faced with exceptional hardship or circumstances
How do I pay the Council Tax?
The government has decided that the current Council Tax Benefit (CTB) which helps residents on low incomes pay their Council Tax will be replaced in April 2013. All local authorities are required to establish their own local scheme from 1 April 2013 called the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
Next year Bexley will receive at least 10% less money for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme from the government than it currently spends on Council Tax Benefit. It will have to manage what it spends on helping people within this reduced budget.
Under the government's proposals, the new arrangements will protect retirement age pensioners based on their current entitlements. The reduction in government funding therefore means the Council has to make difficult decisions about how much support claimants of working age (the remainder) can get. If the Council wanted to maintain the current Council Tax Benefit scheme it would need to fund all of the extra cost itself, which would have a negative impact on other services.
Who will be affected?
This change will directly affect all those of working age who need financial help with paying their Council Tax.
The Council's scheme is based on a set of key principles and features which represent a number of variations to the current Council Tax Benefit scheme for working age claimants. The principles and features of the scheme are listed below.
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The principles and features of the scheme
Principle 1: Everyone will pay something
All claimants of working age will pay at least 5% of their Council Tax bill, with the existing benefit calculations applying to the remaining 95% in 2013/14
All current Council Tax Benefit recipients will therefore lose benefit equivalent to 5% of their bill (or all their benefit where they already received less than 5%) in assistance;
The table 1 below sets out what the 5% loss in assistance represents based on 2012/13 Council Tax bands;
with 25% discount
The table 2 below sets out the maximum assistance available to new claimants in 2013/14, again based on 2012/13 Council Tax bands;
|2012/13 Council Tax||Maximum assistance available in 2013/14|
|Band A - full charge||£956.87||£909.03|
|Band A - with 25% discount||£717.65||£681.77|
|Band B - full charge||£1,116.35||£1,060.53|
|Band B - with 25% discount||£837.26||£795.40|
|Band C - full charge||£1,275.83||£1,212.04|
|Band C - with 25% discount||£956.87||£909.03|
|Band D - full charge||£1,435.31||£1,363.54|
|Band D -25% discount||£1,076.48||£1,022.66|
|Band E - full charge||£1,754.27||£1,666.56|
|Band E - 25% discount||£1,315.70||£1,249.92|
|Band F - full charge||£2,073.22||£1,969.56|
|Band F - 25% discount||£1,554.92||£1,477.17|
|Band G - full charge||£2,392.18||£2,272.57|
|Band G - 25% discount||£1,794.14||£1,704.43|
Principle 2: The Council will give further assistance to those faced with exceptional hardship or circumstances
Under the new scheme there will be an amount of money set aside to help people facing exceptional circumstances or hardship. Any extra help granted will be at the discretion of the Council and will be used to help households meet their Council Tax liability.
Feature 1: Backdating - reduced
Under the current Council Tax Benefit arrangements, working age claimants can request that any Benefit be backdated for a period of up to 6 months. This is awarded subject to set 'good cause' criteria.
Under the new Council Tax Reduction Scheme an award can still be backdated, subject to the same criteria, for a period of up to 3 months, rather than 6.
Feature 2: Methods of calculating eligibility and entitlement will remain the same - no change
Eligibility for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme will continue to be calculated by comparing the income and savings of the person(s) claiming Support against the minimum amount of money the government says a claimant can live on for Housing Benefit purposes.
Bexley will also maintain the current way in which Council Tax Benefit is calculated. Where a claimant has more income than their basic needs then this means that a claimant will lose 20p in Council Tax Support for every £1 of income over their basic living needs figure.
Protection for the vulnerable
The localisation proposals require the Council to consider protection for the 'vulnerable' in our communities. Bexley intends to retain most of the key elements of the existing Council Tax Benefit arrangements, for example;
- the disregard of certain income types such as Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance;
- the use of allowances and premiums for those with children and the disabled;
- and the disregard of some earnings for lone parents in the calculation of any Council Tax Support.
This will help ensure any vulnerable individuals are afforded a degree of protection from the impact of the scheme.
If you think the decision about your Council Tax Reduction is wrong
You should write to us explaining why.
You can make an appeal direct to the Council if you are not satisfied with the decision we have made and it affects your entitlement or the amount you have been awarded. The appeal must:
- Be made in writing to, firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 713, Erith, Kent DA8 1UN
- State clearly the matter you disagree with and the reasons for this, attaching any supporting documentation
When we have looked at your case again, we will send you our decision. If you still disagree, you have the right to appeal to an independent body, the Valuation Tribunal Service. You will need to fill in an appeal form online at Valuation Tribunal Service. You must send your appeal to the Tribunal within two months of the date you receive our decision.
- Council Tax Support is also known as the Council Tax Reduction Scheme -
- Council Tax Support Full details for Council Tax Support