Council tax benefit
The Government claims that localising support for council tax will:
- Give local authorities a greater stake in the economic future of their local area and therefore enable stronger, balanced economic growth across the country.
- Provide local authorities with the opportunity to reform the system of support for working age claimants.
- Reinforce local control over council tax.
- Give local authorities a significant degree of control over how a 10 per cent reduction in expenditure on council tax benefit is achieved.
- Give local authorities a financial stake in the provision of support for council tax.
The consultation notes that the new scheme will protect vulnerable people (including pensioners) who may struggle to pay council tax and that the Government will consider what support should be extended to these groups. The consultation does not however make any mention of other discounts.
Localising support for council tax in England consultation document – on the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) website
The Local Government Association (LGA) has consistently argued that, if done properly, the localisation of council tax benefit (CTB) could enable councils to design schemes to meet local circumstancesm, as opposed to the current CTB scheme which is very 'top-down' and carries heavy administration costs.
In order to make a localised scheme work, councils will ultimately need greater flexibility in how their localised scheme functions in order to accommodate the 10 per cent funding cut that is taking place in conjunction with localisation.
Access the full briefing. Please note this is resticted to LGA member authorities and you will be prompted to sign in before being able to view.
Localising support for council tax in England (PDF, 4 pages, 52KB) – LGA members' briefing
The LGA's full consultation response can be found here:
7 January 2014