From April 2013, local authorities across England were given the power to devise their own systems of Council Tax Support (CTS) for working-age adults. It replaced the national system of Council Tax Benefit (CTB) which ensured that the poorest households did not have to pay council tax.
Each year local authorities decide how CTS should work in their area. Now in its second year, 2.34 million low income families will pay on average £149 more in council in 2014/15 than they did under the former national system.
However, the average cut in support of £149 per year hides a lot of variation. 650,000 families will be paying less than £100 extra in council tax in 2014/15 than they did under CTB, 280,000 fewer than in 2013/14. The numbers paying an between £100 to £200 extra increased markedly between April 2013 and April 2014, from 830,000 to 1.2 million, while around 500,000 families pay an extra £200 in council tax per year under CTS compared to CTB.
The map below shows the average cut in support at the local authority level in 2013/14 and 2014/15 compared to 2012/13 (the last year of the national system of Council Tax Benefit). Hover over the map to see the numbers affected and average cut in each English local authority.
In 2014/15, 79 councils reduced the levels of support for CTS recipients. This number includes 13 councils who had chosen not to pass the funding cut on to recipients in 2013/14 but are no longer 'absorbing' the cut and 66 councils that had made some cuts in 2013/14 but are cutting further in 2014/15.
These cuts to support are clearly illustrated in the map above. In 2014/15, there are fewer councils making 'no cut'. The number of councils reducing support by £100 or less has also fallen. Meanwhile, the number of councils cutting support by over £100 has increased.
The map also highlights the extent of local variation, even between neighbouring areas. For instance, while the reduction in CTS since its introduction in April 2013 now stands at £219 per year in Bath and North East Somerset, recipients of CTS in Bristol will see no reduction in their support. Similarly, in Nottinghamshire, the cut in support in Newark and Sherwood is now £229, compared with £94 in neighbouring Bassetlaw.
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