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Council Tax Reduction 2019/20 - Consultation

The Council has to adopt a new Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2019/20 and wants to know what you think about some key issues.

Please complete our Council Tax Reduction scheme survey onlineOpens new window

 

What is Council Tax?

Council Tax is a local tax set by the Council based on the valuation band of your property. Your home is placed in one of nine valuation bands based on its value at 1 April 2003. The Council is responsible for collecting Council Tax and this money funds a proportion of local public services, including refuse collection, social services, environmental health and education.

Existing Council Tax discounts such as the 25% single person's discount and existing exemptions, for example the exemption for people who are severely mentally impaired and live on their own, remain unchanged.

What is Council Tax Reduction?

Council Tax Reduction (CTR) replaced Council Tax Benefit (CTB) from 1 April 2013. In Wales, CTR is a national scheme and the main regulations are set by Welsh Government, with the authority having limited discretion in certain areas.

CTR is a reduction which is paid to low income households to help them meet the cost of their Council Tax bills. In a number of cases it is possible to receive 100% support, for example if the liable person is in receipt of Income Support.

Welsh Government approach to Council Tax Support

When CTB was abolished from April 2013, UK Government devolved responsibility for Council Tax support in Wales to the Welsh Government. It decided to implement a national scheme broadly similar to CTB but with some differences and limited areas of local discretion.

Welsh Government's national scheme provides up to 100% Council Tax support to tax payers depending on their financial and household circumstances.

If the Council wants to operate the discretionary areas of the scheme, each financial year it has to consider whether to replace or revise those discretionary elements and then adopt its own scheme by 31 January.

We asked for your views on this in previous years and are repeating the consultation exercise again this year.

What are the areas of local discretion available to the Council for 2019 / 20?

The regulations allow the following 3 areas of local discretion:

  • The ability to increase the standard extended payment period of 4 weeks given to people after they return to work when they have been in receipt of a relevant qualifying benefit for more than 26 weeks (the Council currently restricts extended payment periods to 4 weeks).
  • Discretion to disregard part or the whole amount of an applicant's war pension or war widow's pension when calculating their income (the Council currently disregards all income from war pensions and war widow's pensions).
  • The ability to backdate applications for CTR for working age customers for more than the standard 3 months prior to an application being made (the Council currently restricts backdates to 3 months).

Why is the Council asking for your views on CTR again?

The Council has to consider whether to revise its scheme for each financial year, and is legally obliged to adopt a CTR scheme for 2019/20 by 31 January.  The Council is committed to ensuring that its residents and other stakeholders have an opportunity to have their say on the new scheme as a whole and, in particular, over the limited discretions upon which it can make decisions.  Therefore we will consult with you from 5 November 2018 to 2 December 2018 to seek your views on the Council's options in the 3 discretionary areas available to it.

At the end of this consultation period we will collate all of the feedback received and publish the results. These will be available in January 2019, and responses in respect of the discretionary areas will be considered by Members of the Council to help them make a decision on the new Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2019/20.

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