Council Tax Benefit provides support to 5.9 million low-income families, more than any other means-tested benefit or tax credit in the UK. The government is proposing to localise support for council tax from 2013–14, abolishing Council Tax Benefit across Britain and giving grants to local authorities in England and to the Scottish and Welsh governments to design their own systems for providing support for council tax to low-income families. On top of this, the government is planning to cut funding for council tax support by 10 per cent.
This Commentary examines issues such as:
- the likely effects of localising the system of support for council tax;
- the distribution of funding cuts across the country;
- options for local authorities to make savings in the new systems of support for council tax that they adopt;
- how the reformed system of council tax support could be designed to work alongside the government’s proposed introduction of Universal Credit.
This report will be of interest to local authorities charged with designing new council tax rebates, to claimants wishing to understand the reforms and how they might be affected, and to policymakers, the media and wider civil society looking to assess the likely effects and merits of the reforms.