Agenda item

Draft Council Tax Support Scheme 2024/25


The Head of Finance and Customer Service presented the Draft Council Tax Support Scheme 2024/25 for Members’ consideration.


It was reported that the Council was required by section 13A(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (LGFA ’92) to provide a Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme,which specified the reductions in Council Tax provided to people who were in financial need, or to classes of people who were in general in financial need.


It was confirmed that for each tax year the Council must consider whether to revise or replace its scheme. If the Council intended to revise or replace the scheme, it was noted there was a requirement to undertake a formal consultation before establishing a new scheme.


Members were informed that the Council had introduced a new income banded scheme for working age applicants with effect from 1st April 2021. The rationale for the new scheme was to ensure that it was future proofed, and that it reduced the administrative burden placed on the Council by the introduction of Universal Credit.


The Head of Finance and Customer Servicesexplained that the Council had amended the scheme in the years since April 2021 to adjust the level of support in-line with funding available; to amend income bands and tapers to adjust for the impact of inflation; and to aid administration.


It was also reported that the existing scheme included a provision for the uprating of income bands by an inflation factor decided by the Council.


Officers explained that advice had been taken as to whether changes to welfare benefits meant that there were areas within the existing scheme which required amendment. It was noted that the advice received had confirmed that all relevant changes to the Council’s scheme had been made.


Cabinet was informed that there would be no additional operational implications as a result of changes to the income bands,however it would impact the amount of CTR provided to claimants and that the change may result in an increase in the total cost of Council Tax reduction.


By uprating income bands, it protected claimants from the impact of inflation and ensured that inflationary increases to universal credit or wages didnot remove their eligibility for CTR.


Following the presentation of the report, Members commented that Bromsgrove District Council provided a generous CTR scheme for residents. It was also questioned what a ‘less generous’ scheme would look like. Although it was confirmed that this was not what would be planned for the future, it would be interesting to know what neighbouring Councils offered residents as part of their CTR schemes. It was noted that the Bromsgrove District Council scheme offered reductions for those residents that were not in receipt of full benefits. This was a reduction not usually covered by most local Council schemes.


The Chairman invited Councillor R. Hunter, who was observing the meeting, to comment on the report. In doing so, it was stated that Council Tax reductions was a fiendishly complicated area and reiterated that it would be useful to see in what specific areas Bromsgrove District Council was more generous.  Councillor Hunter also referred to the Money Advice Trust who, following the Covid-19 pandemic and as a result of the Cost of Living crisis, had suggested that all recipients of Council Tax support would not be faced with intervention from bailiffs should they fall into arrears. The request for further information was noted however it was stated that this was a very sensitive area, and a Member briefing would be provided in the future.




1)       The current Council Tax Reduction Scheme be retained for the 2024-25 tax year, subject to uprating of income bands as provided for within the existing scheme.


2)       Options for uprating of the income bands be modelled and presented to Cabinet for approval and recommendation of new income grid to Council.


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