Local council tax support scheme – 2024/25
Date of consultation: Monday, November 6, 2023 - Friday, December 22, 2023
Stroud District Council is asking residents, the major precepting authorities Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner, Parish Councils and key stakeholders, for their views on Council Tax Support and options to update the current scheme.
Local council tax support scheme – 2024/25 consultation
There are 2,945 working age claimants in the district who receive Council Tax Support. Many are unemployed or unable to work and will receive 100 per cent Council Tax Support meaning that they do not pay any Council Tax. Other recipients receive Council Tax Support based on the income they have.
We currently allow all working age residents to claim up to 100 per cent support towards their Council Tax, depending on their income and household circumstances and have maintained that level of support since 2013, despite the reduction in government funding. Latest Government statistics show that nationally, very few councils continue to provide this support.
The working-age case count and subsequent cost to the authority of the local scheme has been increasing and there remains a risk in future years that the cost of the scheme may continue to increase because of changes in Council Tax rates and caseload.
Further background information
The Welfare Reform Act 2012 abolished Council Tax benefit. Under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 local authorities are required to develop a local Council Tax Support scheme which protects pensioners.
Stroud District Councils Local Council Tax Support Scheme was introduced in April 2013 based on the default scheme set out by the government controlled by Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Default Scheme) (England) 2012 Regulations.
The scheme is reviewed on an annual basis and updated where it is appropriate to do so in line with local priorities and to reflect changes within the wider Welfare Benefit system. Council Tax Support for pension age customers cannot be reduced.
For 2022/23 we made changes to the scheme to limit the circumstances when a change in household circumstances will cause the level of the LCTS scheme to be changed. Specifically limiting changes to households in receipt of Universal Credit where the amount changes by £10 or less per week LCTS is not altered. The impact of these changes has had a significant impact on processing with little impact on the claimant.
Recommendations for 2024/25 are that we continue to provide up to 100% support and to operate the £10 per week tolerance for changes in circumstances.
There are 2 minor amendments to the scheme:
- Where claimants are self-employed and are or were receiving Universal Credit, we will follow Universal Credit and use the relevant minimum income floor to make an assessment on their income where their profit is below this figure or have declared no profit.
- Where the Council has evidence of fraud and/or error, it reserves the right to withhold and/or recalculate Council Tax Support whether or not the Customer is in receipt of a benefit administered by the Department for Work and Pensions.
The council is inviting any views, comments or feedback and this can be done by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 22 December 2023.
Details of the existing scheme can be found at: www.stroud.gov.uk/housing-benefit-universal-credit-and-council-tax-support/council-tax-support