Agenda item

Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2022-23


The Deputy Mayor took the Chair for the item, in view of the prejudicial declaration of interest the Mayor had declared in this report earlier in the meeting.


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, purpose of which, was to provide Council with information regarding the implementation of the 2022-23 Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTR), and to set out the requirement for the Council to adopt a CTR scheme by 31 January 2022, together with the funding implications.


She advised by way of background, that CTR provides assistance for those on low incomes with a liability to pay Council Tax. 


The UK Government previously devolved to Welsh Government, the establishment of localised schemes in Wales and stated the intention to reduce expenditure on CTB by the equivalent of 10%.


On 20 January 2021, the Council adopted the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2021-22 in accordance with The Council Tax Reduction Schemes and Prescribed Requirements (Wales) Regulations 2013. This scheme will end on 31 March 2022.


From the latest data, there are currently 12,717 households receiving CTR; 8,114 of these are of working age and 4,603 are of pensionable age. Out of the 12,717 households receiving CTR, 9,801 are entitled to a full CTR reduction.


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, continued by stating that on 27 November 2013, the Assembly laid regulations that implemented the arrangements to support those who will pay council tax. The regulations (Council Tax Reduction Schemes and Prescribed Requirements (Wales) Regulations 2013 and Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Default Scheme) (Wales) Regulations 2013), prescribed the main features of the scheme to be adopted by all councils in Wales. Minor amendments to these regulations have since been made each financial year.


The Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Prescribed Requirements and Default Scheme) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 have now been laid before the Senedd for approval. These regulations update the financial figures used in the CTR schemes and make amendments to that outlined in paragraph 4.4 of the report.


The new regulations did not contain any significant changes from the claimants’ perspective, to the current scheme and the maximum level of support that eligible claimants can receive remained at 100%.


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, stated that it is required that the Council adopts a CTR Scheme regardless of whether it applies any of the discretionary elements, shown in paragraph 4.6 of the report. If the Council fails to approve a scheme, then a default scheme shall apply. The Council can only apply discretion if it makes its own scheme under the Prescribed Requirements Regulations.


The next section of the report, outlined details regarding consultation undertaken on the CTR Scheme.


The report proposed that the discretionary elements remain as was outlined in paragraph 4.11 of the report.


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change advised that the Council needed to consider whether to replace or revise its CTR scheme and is obliged to make a scheme under the requirements of the Prescribed Requirements Regulations. The obligation is a statutory duty and applies even if the Council chooses not to apply any of the discretions available to it.


The recommended approach to the available discretions is to apply the recommendations in Table 1 at paragraph 4.23 of the report. It should be noted that there are no additional monies available from the Welsh Government to fund the discretionary elements, she added. The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, further added that Welsh Government have confirmed there will be no additional funding to bridge any gap and each authority will be expected to meet any shortfall.


The recommendation in relation to the available discretionary elements, took into account the following:


·         The consultation responses received in 2016, in particular those relating to the discretionary elements;

·         The current local scheme in relation to the treatment of War Disablement Pensions, War Widows Pensions and War Widowers Pensions for Housing Benefit and 2020-21 CTR scheme, which disregards these payments in full; and,

·         The fixed funding available.


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, concluded her report by advising Members of its financial implications.


A Member noted that there were over 8,000 households of working age claiming this allowance, but he asked, if there was a further breakdown available whether these people were working (on low income) and claiming or were they economically inactive.


The Benefits and Financial Assessments Manager advised that the information could be broken down to a degree, but that it may be difficult with regards to those also receiving further benefits such as, for example, Income Support and Universal Credit.


The Deputy Leader added that this allowance would assist those who have financial difficulty with regards to paying their Council Tax and that the Council would ensure that there is a Communications Plan put in place, so  that those that were eligible for the Scheme, are aware of it and knew how to claim from it.


The Leader added that the benefit was also available for retired people including War widows/widowers.


RESOLVED:                            That Council:


  • Noted the Council Tax Reduction Schemes and Prescribed Requirements (Wales) Regulations 2013, and the 2014 to 2022 amendment regulations;


  • Adopted the Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2022-2023 as set out in paragraphs 4.18 to 4.23 of the report.


Supporting documents: