Agenda item

Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2023-24


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, the purpose of which, was to provide Council with information regarding the implementation of the 2023-2024 Council Tax Reduction scheme and to set out the requirement for the Council to adopt a Council Tax Reduction Scheme by the 31st January 2023.


By way of background, she confirmed that Council tax relief provides assistance for those on low incomes who are liable to pay Council Tax.


Welsh government has developed a single nationally defined scheme for the provision of council tax support within which, is the provision for a small number of discretionary elements which individual Councils can choose to adopt. Any additional associated costs must however, be funded locally.


The current scheme adopted by Bridgend County Borough Council will end on the 31 March 2023, explained the Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change.


The Council Tax Reduction Scheme Regulations 2023 have now been laid before the Senedd for approval. The new regulations contain a change to the current scheme to:


           Ensure that applicable Ukrainian nationals will be eligible to be included in a local authority’s council tax relief scheme and will be eligible for a discount if they meet the other requirements of the scheme;

           Provide protection for hosts for the Homes for Ukraine scheme. The regulations make provision so that any Ukrainian national who has been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, or who has a right of abode, is to be treated as a dependent on the applicant host for the purpose of calculating entitlement to this discount. In effect this preserves the level of entitlement of the host applicant;

           Remove the exception for European Economic Area citizens who are    now subject to immigration control


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change added that the new regulations do not contain any other significant changes to the current scheme and the maximum level of support that eligible claimants can receive remained at 100%


Within the prescribed requirements regulations there is limited discretion given to the Council to apply elements that are more generous than the national scheme. These were:


           The ability to increase the standard extended reduction period of four weeks given to persons after they returned to work where they previously received CTR.

           Discretion to increase the amounts of war disablement pensions and war widows pensions which is disregarded when calculating income of the claimant.

           An ability to back date the application for council tax relief with regard to late claims prior to the new standard period of three months before the claim.


The Council was required to adopt a scheme by the 31 January 2023, regardless of whether it chooses to apply any of the discretionary elements. If the Authority failed to agree a scheme, then a default scheme would apply.


She added that proposed discretionary elements for 2023-2024, were outlined in more detail in Table 1 at paragraph 4.23 of the report. The discretion proposed, related to disregard levels in relation to income received in respect of war disablement pensions and war widows/widowers pensions and the proposal is that the total value of any pension specified would be disregarded.


The estimated cost to the Council of these proposals is £6,659 in 2023-24.


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change concluded by stating that from the latest data, there were currently 12,602 households receiving Council Tax Reduction (CTR); 8,101 of these were of working age and 4,500 were of pensionable age. Out of the 12,601 households receiving CTR, 9,701 are entitled to a full CTR reduction.


RESOLVED:                                 That Council:


           Noted The Council Tax Reduction Schemes and Prescribed Requirements (Wales) Regulations 2013, and the 2014 to 2023 amendment regulations;


           Adopted the Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2023-2024 as set out in   paragraphs 4.18 to 4.23 of the report.

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