Government changes to Council Tax Benefit and Council Tax discounts and exemptions
The Council Tax Benefit scheme was replaced by the Council Tax Support scheme on 1 April 2013.
The government abolished the national Council Tax Benefit scheme and asked councils to introduce a local Council Tax Support scheme to replace it. Every council has their own local Council Tax Support scheme with its own eligibility criteria.
There is less funding from the government under the new scheme and the council now has to work within a budget that has been reduced by approximately 10-15%. For us, this means a reduction of approximately £1.5 million.
This meant we had to make some difficult decisions about who gets financial help and how much.
Our local Council Tax Support scheme
Summary of the changes to Council Tax Benefit from April 2013
Council Tax Benefit ended on 31 March 2013. Our Council Tax Support scheme came into effect on 1 April 2013.
Working age claimants receiving Council Tax Benefit on 31 March 2013 were transferred to the Council Tax Support scheme on 1 April 2013. Council Tax Support is worked out under the Council Tax Benefit rules but working age claimants have their support reduced by 6%.
Second adult rebate has been stopped for working age people.
People of pension age are fully protected from the changes.
Summary of the changes to Council Tax discounts and exemptions from April 2013
The Council Tax discount for second homes has been removed.
The Council Tax exemption for empty and unfurnished properties has been removed.
The Council Tax exemption for properties that need or are undergoing major repairs or structural alterations has been replaced with a locally agreed Council Tax discount. Properties that are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished, and require, or are undergoing, structural alterations or major repair works to make them habitable can get a 100% discount on their Council Tax bill for up to 12 months.
How do I apply for Council Tax Support?
You need to fill in a Council Tax Support application form and provide proof to support your application.
Please see the Council Tax Support page for more information about how to apply for Council Tax Support.
Council Tax Support scheme from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015
Please find below details of our Council Tax Support scheme for 2014 to 2015. The conditions and criteria of the scheme are the same as the previous year.
Other Council Tax reductions
You can find information about other Council Tax reductions that may be available to you on the Council Tax pages.
Changes to benefits
The government has proposed some other major changes to benefits. Please see the Welfare Reform pages for more information.