What is Local Council Tax Support and how has it changed?

Our new Local Council Tax Support scheme for people of working age was introduced on 1 April 2013. It is based on the old Council Tax Benefit scheme, but with five differences.

These differences are:

  1. Second Adult Rebate (Alternative Maximum Council Tax Benefit) was withdrawn and does not form part of the scheme.
  2. The period for which support can be backdated was reduced from six to three months.
  3. A minimum weekly award of £5 was introduced - entitlement to financial support calculated to be less than £5.00 per week will not be paid.
  4. The capital limit, above which assistance will not be provided, was reduced from £16,000 to £6,000.
  5. The maximum level of council tax support, against which entitlement will be calculated, was restricted to the Band D charge for the area in which a property is located.

We are aware that the withdrawal of Council Tax Benefit may have a severe financial impact on a small number of households. We will provide a limited discretionary hardship fund to support local people. This will be a temporary arrangement to help you cope with the transition between Council Tax Benefit and the new Local Council Tax Support scheme.

The hardship payments will:

  • be means tested (an assessment of your income and expenditure)

  • be awarded for a maximum of one year at a time

  • not be for more than 75% of any Council Tax Benefit lost

  • not be awarded if non-essential expenditure exceeds the loss of Council Tax Benefit incurred

  • not be backdated.

Pensioners are exempt from the changes to Local Council Tax Support and will be protected from any cut in benefit.

What changed for Local Council Tax Support in 2014-15?

There are some changes to our Local Council Tax Support scheme for the 2014-15 financial year.

From 1 April 2014 residents of properties that fell within Council Tax bands F - H were no longer entitled to any financial support. We will only pay Local Council Tax Support awards that are £10 or more per week, any awards that are less than this will not be paid. No other changes have been made from the 2013-14 scheme.

Whilst we acknowledge that these changes affected a relatively small number of residents, the most vulnerable members of our community are still eligible for help towards 100 per cent of their Council Tax. Please contact us on 0330 123 0081 if you would like any more information.

icon The rules of the Local Council Tax Support scheme for those of working age [2.61MB] .

icon The rules of the Local Council Tax Support scheme for those of pension age [1.99MB] .

What changed for Local Council Tax Support in 2015-16?

On 9 December 2014, the Council decided to make no changes that would result in less financial support being available to residents during 2015-16. The scheme for 2015-16 remains the same as for 2014-15 except for one small amendment.

The only change made to the scheme is to disregard, in full, personal budget payments in relation to Education, Health and Care plans in respect of children with special education needs. This change means that some parents of children with special education needs might be able to receive more financial assistance.

Whilst we continue to acknowledge that the changes made since April 2013 will affect a relatively small number of residents, the most vulnerable members of our community will still be eligible for help towards 100% of their Council Tax. Please contact us on 0330 123 0081 if you would like any more information.

icon The rules of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for those of working age [2.61MB] .

icon The rules of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for those of pension age [1.99MB] .

What changed for Local Council Tax Support in 2016-17?

On 9 December 2015, the Council decided to make some changes to Guildford's Local Council Tax Support Scheme. The changes will take place from 1 April 2016 with those most in need still able to get up to 100% support for their council tax. The changes will only affect those applicants of working age.

Whilst ensuring those most in need can still claim full council tax support, the changes to the relief we provide from April 2016 are:

  • freezing personal allowances and premiums

  • increasing non-dependent deductions

  • introducing a minimum income for the self-employed

  • including Child Benefit and maintenance as income.

We acknowledge that the changes made since April 2013 will affect a relatively small number of residents. We will continue to help those affected by the changes through our discretionary hardship fund of £40,000.

icon The rules of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for those of working age [2.61MB] .

icon The rules of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for those of pension age [1.99MB] .

What changed for Local Council Tax Support in 2017-18?

On 6 December 2016, the Council decided to make no changes that would result in less financial support being available to residents during 2017-18. The scheme for 2017-18 remains the same as for 2016-17.

We acknowledge that the changes made since April 2013 will affect a relatively small number of residents. We will continue to help those affected by the changes through our discretionary hardship fund of £40,000.

icon The rules of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for those of working age [2.89MB]

icon The rules of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for those of pension age [2.19MB]

 

What's new for Local Council Tax Support in 2018-19?

On 5 December 2017, the Council decided to make some changes to Guildford's Local Council Tax Support Scheme. The changes will take place from 1 April 2018 with those most in need still able to get up to 100% support for their council tax. The changes will only affect those applicants of working age.

Whilst ensuring those most in need can still claim full council tax support, the changes to the relief we provide from April 2018 are:

  • increasing Personal Allowances and Premiums, to ensure that the help we give does not unduly reduce due to inflation. 

  • increasing Non-Dependant Deductions to reflect an expectation that non-dependants living in the household contribute more to household expenses each year.

  • increasing the minimum income floor for self-employed claimants to ensure the rule remains simple to understand. We based the minimum income floor on the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015. Since then the National Minimum Wage has increased, but our rate remained frozen. To maintain fairness and clarity we will increase the National Minimum Wage to the level current at 1 January prior to the Scheme start date. If you are self-employed, we will calculate your earnings using the higher of your actual income or the national minimum wage rate applicable for your age. The rules of our scheme also assume you work 35 hours per week.

  • mirroring the following changes to Housing Benefits (help with rent) to avoid claimants being subject to two confusing sets of rules:

    • reducing backdating from three months to one month;

    • restricting family premium - the family premium will be excluded from the Local Council Tax Support applicable amount for new entitlements to Local Council Tax Support beginning on or after 1 April 2018 or for any existing claimants who have a child or become responsible for a child (under 16) or young person (under 20) for the first time on or after 1 April 2018;

    • reducing the allowable period of temporary absence outside Great Britain from 13 to 4 weeks.

We will continue to help those affected by the changes through our discretionary hardship fund of £40,000.

icon The rules of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for those of working age. [1.07MB]

The rules of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for those of pension age are statutory and are applied in accordance with legislation.

Visit the welfare reform page to find out about other changes.