Changes to Council Tax Reduction - April 2018

The amount of Council Tax Reduction that working aged claimants receive will be reduced in 2018/19

Click on the links below to take you to the section you wish to read more about:

What is Council Tax Reduction?

Council Tax Reduction, also known as CTR, is a local scheme to help working age residents to pay their Council Tax if they are on a low income or claiming benefits.

Why is the scheme changing?

The government previously provided approximately £183million of funding to the council in 2013/14 (through the ‘Revenue Support Grant’) but it is cutting that funding down to zero by 2020/21. The council therefore has to make difficult decisions.

How is the scheme changing?

  • CTR will now be assessed based on the Council Tax applied to a band A property - irrespective of what band your property is in. For example if you live in a Band D property your CTR will only be calculated on a Band A charge.
  • The maximum amount of CTR that can be awarded will be 70% of the band A property charge.
  • There will be a minimum CTR entitlement of £4 per week. This means that if you qualify for £3.99 CTR per week or less you will no longer be entitled to CTR.
  • Changes of circumstance affecting a claim by less than £1 per week. From April 2018, the council will only update a CTR claim if the change of circumstance will affect the amount of CTR by £1 per week or more. When Universal Credit is rolled out across the district from June 2018, the council will receive changes of circumstances from the DWP every month. The change will cut down on amended bills for what could only be a few pence per week.
  • Second Adult Rebate will no longer exist for claimants of working age – this is currently known as Alternative Maximum Assistance and is available to claimants who have at least one other adult (who has a low income) living with them. This is not based on the income of the resident who pays Council Tax but on the income of the “second adult”.
  • A minimum level of income will be used for self-employed people when they claim Universal Credit. When self-employed claimants have been in business for a year their income will be assessed on either their actual earnings, or the national minimum wage for 35 hours a week - whichever is greater. For the first year of the business the claim will be assessed on actual earnings. Variations will apply for part-time workers.

What do these changes mean for me?

These changes mean that you will get less CTR in the future, and you will have to pay more Council Tax.

When will my CTR amount reduce?

The changes will come into affect from 1 April 2018.

How much will my new entitlement be?

When you get your annual Council Tax bill in March 2018, it will show you how much CTR you will receive from 1 April 2018 and how much Council Tax you will have to pay.

What if I’m struggling to pay?

If these changes result in you having difficulties in keeping up to date with your Council Tax payments, please contact us as soon as you cannot make a payment.

It may help you to keep up to date with your payments if you pay your bill by Direct Debit. This is the easiest way to pay as your bank does all the work for you. You can sign up for Direct Debit online. Paying by Direct Debit gives you the option of paying by 12 monthly instalments. If you do want to pay by Direct Debit we would encourage you to sign up as soon as possible. 

You may also find it useful to sign up to MyInfo where you can check both your Council Tax and Benefits accounts. This will help you to keep track of how much CTR you are entitled to and how much Council Tax you need to pay. You can sign up to the MyInfo services online.

Advice services

Look at our advice services web page for contact details of services available in the district.

Is there any extra help available for people affected by these changes?

Yes. The council has set up a CTR Discretionary Support Scheme. This scheme is offered by the local authority to help those adversely affected by the changes to the Local Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme from 1 April 2018.

This scheme is discretionary and intended to assist those most affected by the CTR changes to make the financial transition to the new scheme.

There is no automatic right to this support, and for this reason not all applications will receive an award and sometimes awards will be made for lower than the amount you owe.

What is the Discretionary Support Scheme to assist with?

  • 2018/19 Council Tax Bills
  • Additional help for those on CTR
  • Those impacted by the scheme changes from April 2018

Who might qualify for Discretionary Support?

You must:

  • Be in receipt of CTR on the 31 March 2018.
  • Be in receipt of CTR on the 1 April 2018
  • Have lost out by more than £5 per week because of the scheme changes
  • Be working age (Pension age people are not affected by the changes)
  • Need assistance to pay the additional contribution due to the scheme changes

The local authority will decide if they can help you by firstly checking your circumstances against the qualifying criteria and then looking at you and your household's income, savings and expenses to see if they can help.

How much can I get?

The maximum you might get is the weekly amount that you have lost due wholly to the CTR scheme changes. This is the difference between what you paid weekly in 2017/18, compared to the weekly amount you need to pay in 2018/19. If the difference is less than £5 per week you will not qualify.

If you are successful the appropriate amount will be credited to your Council Tax account for the full year, this will reduce the amount you will need to pay each week or month. You will be sent a notification to explain how much you have been awarded.

You will not be sent any money even for backdated awards, and if your liability for Council tax ends then so will your award.

How do I apply?

Once you have received your bill, you will be able to apply for CTR Discretionary Support using the online form.

You must make sure that the application form is fully completed and you give full detailed answers to the questions on the form and provide proofs where necessary. For any queries, you can contact us online about the CTR discretionary support scheme.

Underline image

Stay connected Image of an envelope

Sign up for email updates about benefits

Contact details

If you have fallen behind with your Council Tax payments, call : 01274 437792
If you have a query about your CTR entitlement, call : 01274 432772

Rate this page

The feedback you provide will help us continue to make improvements to our website.

Rate this page now