What is this consultation about?
Each year the City Council has to decide whether to change the Council Tax Support Scheme for working age applicants in its area. This year the Council has decided that some minor changes should be made to assist in the administration of the scheme and to allow some flexibility due to changes to welfare benefits during the COVID-19 crisis,
What is Council Tax Support?
Council Tax Support is a discount for Council Tax. The level of discount is based on the income of the household. Currently the maximum discount for a working age applicant is 80% of Council Tax (limited to a maximum Council Tax Band E level). The current discount levels are as follows:
Plymouth City Council Council Tax Support
|Single person with no dependant children
|Couple with no dependant
|Household with at least one dependant child aged under 5
|Household with one dependant child
|Household with more than one dependant child
|| £255.01- £306.00
|| £560.01 +
|In receipt of a passporting benefit*
* Where an applicant or partner is in receipt of a ‘passporting benefit*’ namely Income Support, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance or Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, discount will be awarded at Band 1 level.
Pensioners are protected under the scheme set by Central Government and may receive up to 100% support.
Why is a change to the Council Tax Support scheme being considered?
Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, the Government has introduced a number of changes to the welfare benefits system to allow those on a low income additional support. Unfortunately the Council Tax Support Scheme can only be changed annually and a number of Government changes (which have increased other benefits) have had a detrimental effect on entitlement to Council Tax Support.
This is particularly relevant to recipients of Working Tax Credit and Universal Credit who have seen a slight increase in their entitlements to those benefits but who have also potentially experienced a reduction in their Council Tax Support as their income increased.
This was never the intention of the Council's Council Tax Support Scheme and the Council has decided that changes need to be made to allow the Council more flexibility in the scheme should similar circumstances happen in the future.
The proposed changes will allow the Council the option to change the scheme so that applicants will not be disadvantaged should the Government take such action in the future.
Who will this affect?
Working age households in the Council's area who currently receive or will apply for Council Tax Support.
Pension age households will not be affected as Central Government prescribe the scheme.
Are there any alternatives to changing the existing Council Tax Support scheme?
The Council could decide to continue with the current scheme but the risk of this is that applicants may lose entitlement if Government increases other benefits or continues to make changes to the welfare benefit system.