In 2013 the government abolished Council Tax Benefit and asked local councils to introduce their own scheme for working age residents who need help paying their Council Tax. This became known as Council Tax Support.
The government passed on the funding but with a significant cut. The current Lambeth scheme protects and supports 24,000 households each year however the Council recognises the financial challenges faced by Lambeth residents due to Covid-19 and the rises in Council Tax costs and wishes to offer a more generous Council Tax Support scheme for 2022-23 to support residents financially.
Each of these options would be expected to increase the amount of support paid to residents in certain circumstances.
Please note none of the options listed below will affect anyone of pensionable age, who are awarded Council Tax Support based on national eligibility criteria, in general this is more generous than the Lambeth working age scheme.
The options are:
Option 1 - removing the 20% liability reduction. If you are not in a protected group, you must pay a certain amount of Council Tax. The maximum Council Tax Support you can receive is 80% of your Council Tax liability. This is your liability reduction. This option would remove the liability reduction, making it possible to pay Council Tax Support of up to 100% of the liability for all residents, not just those in protected groups. This option would support all residents, particularly those on means-tested welfare benefits.
Option 2 - removing the £5 minimum weekly payment. At the moment the minimum weekly Council Tax Support payment is £5. This means that if an income assessment shows you are entitled to less than £5 per week, you will not receive any Council Tax Support. This option would remove the minimum weekly payment so people currently not receiving any Council Tax Support could receive some help to pay their Council Tax. This option will support those often referred to as ‘just about managing’.
Option 3 - removing mandatory minimum non-dependant deductions based on the circumstance of the householder. This year, the amount of Council Tax Support you receive is less if you have a non-dependant living with you. At present, all non-dependants are expected to make a contribution to a household. With this option, non-dependants living in households where the claimant or their partner receive disability benefits or are blind, would no longer be expected to make a contribution. This recognises that the householder is likely to require additional support, provided by the non-dependant. This change would bring our scheme in line with housing benefit regulations.
Option 4 - removing mandatory minimum non-dependant deductions based on the circumstance of the non-dependant. If you have a non-dependant living with you, the amount of Council Tax Support you receive will be less, because all non-dependants are expected to make a contribution to a household. With this option, some non-dependants, such as students or those under 25 on welfare benefits would not be expected to make a contribution. The currently expected contribution is up to 10% of their income - income that has not been calculated to be spent on Council Tax, so could cause hardship. This change would bring our scheme in line with housing benefit regulations.
Option 5 - reducing the excess income taper to 20% from 25%.Council Tax Support is a means tested benefit. This means we compare your income with the amount the government says a person in your circumstances needs to live on. If your income is higher than this, you are expected to use some of the extra (also known as ‘excess income’) to pay towards your Council Tax. This is called a ‘taper’. Currently, you are expected to pay 25% of the money.