Council Tax

Key changes to council tax support in 2017/18

Commissioned by: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

  • Published 4th Apr 2017
  • Category: Council Tax

Key points

  • Council tax support (CTS) gives low-income working-age families a discount on the amount of council tax they have to pay. So if CTS is cut, the result is a tax increase for those families affected.
  • 74 councils changed their schemes in April 2017, which is a slight increase compared to the 66 councils who changed their scheme in April 2016 and an increase from the 50 who changed their scheme in April 2015.
  • There are now only 37 local authorities who have made no changes to their CTB schemes, and 277 out of 326 have cut the amount of CTS available to claimants by introducing a minimum payment or a band cap. The other 12 councils have made other changes such as removing the second adult rebate to their schemes.
  • This has created a great deal of variation across England. In some local authorities low-income households continue to be exempt from paying Council Tax whilst in others they are required pay up to 45% of their bill.
  • In the fifth year of local CTS, 2.0 million families have been adversely affected by the change from CTB. On average these families will have to pay £191 additional Council Tax in 2017/18 in comparison to what they would have paid under CTB
  • The most common financial impact of CTS changes on claimants in 2017/18 was an additional £150 to £200 per year to pay in council tax than they would have under CTS. The number of CTS claimants paying £200 or more has increased to 825,000.