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Issue - meetings

Council Tax Reduction Scheme

Meeting: 12/09/2023 - Cabinet (Item 72)

72 Council Tax Reduction Scheme and Charges for Long Term Empty Properties

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.


Supporting documents:


Cllr Nick Botterill, Cabinet Member for Finance, Development Management, and Strategic Planning, presented a report detailing proposals to consult on a number of options for a local, means tested Council Tax Reduction scheme to those of working age on a low or fixed income.


It was explained that following a consultation a report would be considered at the December 2023 meeting of Cabinet.


Cllr Pip Ridout, Chairman of the Financial Planning Task Group, commented on the proposals, noting the potential cost or increases in recoverable debts.


Cllr Gordon King, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, supported consulting on the options within the report. 


It was then,




It was agreed:


1)    To delegate to the Director Finance, to go out to consultation on the proposals included in the report;


2)    To approve an increase in the Council Tax premium charge levied on long term empty properties with effect from 1 April 2024.



Since 2013 the council has operated two schemes to determine entitlement to Council Tax Reduction (CTR). The scheme for those of pensionable age is a national scheme and mandated and applies 100% relief to those households. The scheme for those of working age is referred to as the local scheme as a scheme set by the council. Both the administration and the rules of the working age scheme have been heavily impacted by the roll out of Universal Credit which is managed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The local scheme was successfully launched in 2013 and at the time efforts were made to keep the scheme cost neutral. The result was that many working age households were expected to contribute toward their council tax for the first time. Whilst this approach was widely adopted by many local authorities, the impact of changes to the calculation of council tax to allow the inclusion of the Adult Care levy, the impact of Covid-19 and the current cost of living crisis was not anticipated and has resulted in more customers being unable to meet their council tax liability especially low-income households in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.

As a local scheme the council should review the scheme regularly to ensure it meets the priorities of the council and delivers an appropriate level of support for low-income households. Due to the impacts detailed above it is right that the council review the scheme and are required to consult on any changes recommended to the scheme. It is also proposed that changes are made to increase the premiums charged on long term empty properties and adopt the same approach as our neighbouring authorities.




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