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The impacts of localised council tax support schemes

Presentations given by Stuart Adam and Thomas Pope (IFS)




Support for low-income households in England to meet their council tax bills has now been the responsibility of councils for almost 6 years. In the face of funding cuts from central government, many have chosen to significantly cut council tax support (CTS). In many areas, even the lowest-income households have been handed local tax bills for the first time since the poll tax. New IFS research, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, examines:

  • How have different kinds of local authorities designed their CTS schemes? Has the support available to low-income households in affluent and deprived areas diverged?
  • How have local CTS schemes changed since they were first introduced in 2013–14?
  • What have been the impacts on the incomes and work incentives of those affected?
  • To what extent have councils actually succeeded in collecting the additional council tax they intended to collect when cutting CTS, as opposed to causing more households to fall into council tax arrears?
  • Are arrears an especially likely outcome in cases where CTS is cut back for households who would otherwise have had no council tax bill to pay at all?
  • Are some kinds of claimants, or claimants in some kinds of local authorities, more adversely affected than others by a cut to their CTS?

The event will begin with registration and refreshments at 10.00 with the event starting at 10:30, featuring presentations by IFS researchers followed by Q&A.

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Five years on from the localisation and funding cut for Council Tax Support, this report looks at how local authorities’ Council Tax Support schemes have evolved since they were first introduced, and at the changing effects of these scheme choices on claimants and on local authorities.
Press release
In 2013, support for low-income households to pay their council tax was localised across England and funding for it was cut, while it was mandated that pensioners be protected. Hence for the first time since the poll tax, some of the lowest-income households have been required to pay local tax.