Changes to council tax support - give us your views

We are asking residents for their views on council tax support.

Why are we consulting?

Each year we have to decide whether to make changes to the administration of our council tax support scheme for working age applicants in the borough. This year we are consulting on a proposed scheme from 1 April 2022 that will ensure that our most vulnerable residents continue to receive the vital support they need.

Cheltenham Borough Council currently provides 100 per cent support to many customers within the scheme. Our aim is to continue to protect the most vulnerable customers who are on low incomes.

The proposed income bands are:

Proposed income bands show weekly income

Income band

Single person

Couple

Lone parent with children

Couple with children

Maximum percentage entitlement

Band 1

£0 to £98

£0 to £140

£0 to £175

£0 to £230

100

Band 2

£98.01 to £125

£140.01 to £175

£175.01 to £200

£230.01 to £280

80

Band 3

£125.01 to £150

£175.01 to £230

£200.01 to £250

£280.01 to £330

60

Band 4

£150.01 to £175

£230.01 to £280

£250.01 to £305

£330.01 to £380

40

Band 5

£175.01 to £200

£280.01 to £330

£305.01 to £355

£380.01 to £435

20

It may be necessary to apply a further small inflationary increase to these income band figures but this will only be necessary if the government awards an additional increase.   

Who are we consulting?

The consultation in respect of the council tax support scheme for 2022-23 is open to everyone who lives in Cheltenham, regardless of whether they currently claim benefits and/or council tax support, work or study in the town. We are keen to hear the views of a cross section of Cheltenham residents.

When and how are we consulting?

The consultation will run for a period of six weeks, starting 6 September 2021 and ending on 15 October 2021.  

We encourage people to complete our online survey as this will capture answers to the key questions we are asking.

Go to online survey

However if you are unable to complete the online survey and would like to send your comments to us please do one of the following:

  • Email your views to ctsconsultation@cheltenham.gov.uk
  • Request a paper copy of the survey and then post back to us as the address below
  • Write to us at the address below

Revenues and Benefits Service, Cheltenham Borough Council, Municipal Offices, Promenade, Cheltenham. GL50 9SA

Background

Council tax support is provided to around 7,150 households in Cheltenham at an annual cost of just over £6.9 million. This includes working and pension age claimants. Around 69 per cebt of these households are of working age. The cost of the council tax support scheme is met by this council, the county council and the police. The share of the cost is the same as the share of the council tax.

Prior to April 2013, council tax payers on a low income could apply for council tax benefit to help pay their council tax. Under this national scheme and in line with the regulations, council tax payers could receive benefit of up to 100 per cent of their council tax liability. The council then received full funding from the government for all council tax benefit awards made.

From April 2013, councils became responsible for designing their own local council tax support (CTS) scheme for working age people only. The government also reduced the funding given to councils to pay for the scheme. Cheltenham Borough Council introduced its local council tax support scheme in April 2013 which more or less replicated the council tax benefit scheme. Council tax support for pensioners was not localised and continues to be provided for by a national scheme.

We no longer receive any direct funding from the government towards the cost of the council tax support scheme.

From 1 April 2019, Cheltenham Borough Council introduced a revised local council tax support scheme which increased the contribution that some people receiving help must make towards their council tax bills. Some further changes were made to the scheme from 1 April 2020 and we are now in the position of deciding our local council tax support scheme with effect from 1 April 2022. We want to hear your views on the proposals for the 2022-23 scheme.

What is local council tax support?

Council tax support is a council tax discount and if awarded it will reduce a person’s council tax payments. Any person who is liable for council tax can apply. The level of discount awarded is currently based on the income and capital the claimant and partner has, whether they have dependent children or other adults living in the household, referred to as non dependants. Other factors such as certain expenses to assist with childcare payments, disabilities and whether a person falls into a group considered to need more support is also taken into consideration .

All, some, or none of these factors can be taken into consideration when devising a council tax support scheme.

What happens after the consultation period has ended?

We will use the information collected from this consultation to assist in making our decision on the council tax support scheme from 1 April 2022.

The results from the consultation will be published later this year on our website.

Work will take place to update the council tax support scheme which will be considered as a full council meeting in December 2021. The scheme will then be reflected as a discount on council tax bills for 2022-23.