From April 2024, the one-year cost of living increase that was applied to the 2023-24 scheme will end.
Working aged claimants who are the parents of children under 5 years of age and recipients of certain disability based benefits will be able to claim up to 100%, with other working aged claimants able to claim up to 80%.
The Council is proposing minor changes to the detail of calculations in some cases and opportunity exists to contribute to formal consultation on this process using our online form Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2024/25 Consultation (smartsurvey.co.uk).
The changes are described below and responses to the consultation are welcome up to 5pm on 2 January 2024.
The LCTR scheme for pension aged claimants is prescribed by government and cannot be changed locally.
The proposed change will only affect claimants of working age.
Passporting of Universal Credit Claimants who do not work
The parameters of current scheme are such that a claimant of Universal Credit who does not work, whose partner does not work (in the case of a couple) and does not have savings over £6,000, will receive the maximum award of LCTR. This is 80% for most, but 100% for the protected categories.
Protected categories of claimants for this purpose means the parents of children aged under 5, and people in receipt of certain disability based benefits.
The process of achieving that award involves an assessment which can be time consuming and complex, particularly where other out-of-work benefit are paid alongside Universal Credit.
The scheme from 2024 will be revised such that these claimants will be 'passported' to their maximum award which will again be either 80% or 100% in the case of protected categories.
This change is intended to provide clarity to claimants and to reduce the time needed to process their claims and issue accurate Council Tax bills.
Treatment of Universal Credit Claimants who do work
Passporting of claims from Universal Credit claimants who also work is not feasible due to the varying levels of earnings that may exist and potential inconsistency with other claimants.
In order to maintain consistency with both the treatment of other working claimants and the manner in which Universal Credit is calculated, we propose no change to the way in which these claims are assessed.
We will disregard the elements of UC paid in respect of Housing Costs and support for disabled people, (thereby including only the Standard Allowance and Child Element).
Other benefits paid in addition to Universal Credit and earnings will be added to the income, but the earnings will attract the same level of disregard as is the case for other working claimants.
Any other comments
The consultation form gives an opportunity for you to make any other comments regarding the LCTR scheme, including any changes that you would like to see.
All responses to the consultation document will be passed to the Council members who are responsible for the scheme.