IFS Press Releases

Cuts to council tax support increase numbers seeking debt advice

Date: 21 January 2014
Authors:

Four in five English local authorities (LAs) reduced entitlements to council tax support (CTS) this financial year. This followed the replacement of council tax benefit, a UK-wide benefit that provided help for low-income families with their council tax, by CTS schemes designed by individual LAs. At the same time funding from central government was cut by 10%.

With LAs obliged to protect pensioners, entitlements were reduced for 2.5 million working age households, by an average of £160 in 2013–14.

These are among the findings of new research, published today by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The research also shows that where LAs removed full exemption from council tax for the poorest families and replaced it with a substantial minimum council tax payment, the numbers seeking advice on council tax debt increased significantly.