Agenda item

Local Council Tax Support Scheme

Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets


The Cabinet Member Finance, Assets and Regeneration introduced the report, noting that since 2013, the council had been required to set its annual local council tax support scheme for working age residents. Council tax support for pensioners was not localised and continued to be provided for by a national scheme. Funding for this scheme was rolled into the Revenue Support Grant and subject to annual cuts, but as the council no longer received this it needed to fund its share of the cost of the scheme itself.

In 2019/20, they approved a new scheme, with one of the main aims being to ensure that the most vulnerable and those with the lowest incomes continued to receive 100% support. The proposed council tax support scheme from 1st April 2023 for working age people would continue to be based on 5 income bands, with the highest band providing support at 100% of the council tax liability, then reducing to 80%, 60%, 40% and 20% as household income increased.

Due to the impact of Covid, the caseload for working age people had increased significantly in 2020/21, and was up by 25% in April 2021. From the 1st March 2020, there were 3,984 recipients totalling £3.3million, and by April 2021 this 25% rise had taken the numbers up to 4,988 recipients totalling £4.7million. By October 2021, there had been a slight reduction in these numbers, to 4,839 recipients totalling £4.5million. As of October 2022, there were 4,643 residents totalling £4.2million of support.

Despite the increase in the number of working age residents requiring assistance compared to pre-pandemic levels, they continued to provide 100% support to the most vulnerable and those with the lowest incomes. Many residents were still recovering financially from the effects of the pandemic, in addition to the cost-of-living emergency, and this scheme would provide some vital help for the most financially vulnerable residents.  

He drew colleagues’ attention to the fourth recommendation, which took into account the fact that the government had not yet made up its mind as to what support it planned to give to residents receiving welfare benefits. The delegation in the recommendation allowed the council to make the relevant changes when this became clear.

He thanked officers working in Revenues and Benefits for the extraordinary work they put in to support residents in the town, and commended the report to Members.

The Mayor moved into Member questions:

  • One Member asked what proportion of the £4.2m funding mentioned in the report went to the council, and how this compared to the county and the police. The Cabinet Member Finance, Assets and Regeneration did not have the figures to hand but agreed to provide a written response after the meeting.


The Mayor moved into debate, where Members made the following points:


  • It was good to see that council was continuing to choose to provide 100% council relief to the families most in need.
  • The number of people needing support had grown by more than 20% during the pandemic, and of all the individuals receiving relief, some 3,000 (70%) were receiving 100% support.


The Cabinet Member Finance, Assets and Regeneration thanked colleagues for their contributions. The council could not solve this crisis on their own, but these little bits of support made a huge difference.

The Mayor moved to the vote, where it was unanimously:


1.    The Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2023/24 for working age customers in Appendix 4 and summarised in Appendix 5 be approved;


2.    Authority be given to the Executive Director for Finance Assets and Regeneration in consultation with the Cabinet Member Finance and Assets and Regeneration to uprate any premiums, allowances and determine the income levels in line with any increase in Welfare Benefits by 20 February 2023.


FOR: 37




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