Do you qualify for a reduction in your council tax?

Yes you heard right, some people can and do get a reduced council tax bill.

The council tax reduction scheme is a scheme which is run by councils across the country. It recognises that households have different pressures and depending on where you live, your income, how many people live in your home, how many children you have and what benefits you already claim, you could have your council tax bill significantly reduced.

The current scheme is banded, this means that you will fall into one of four different bands depending on your income and other circumstances.

At the higher end of the discount for those people on really low incomes and with other household pressures, you could receive a discount on your council tax bill of up to 85%.

Cllr Tony Leech, West Devon’s member for the cost of living said: ‘These schemes are there to help people who are really struggling and we realise that over the coming months, this could mean more people need help. If you are unsure if you qualify for a reduction, but are on a low income please come forward and check.’

For those families who find themselves in a desperate situation, the council also runs an exceptional hardship fund, which offers short-term help to those customers who already get the council tax reduction but who are still struggling to pay their council tax.

Here’s where to apply for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and find out about the Hardship Scheme:

Janie Moor, from Citizens Advice in Devon said: ‘There are a number of situations where you might be able to get a council tax discount. In addition to a single person discount if you live alone, you may also be eligible for a discount if you have a live in carer or there are full time students or apprentices in the household. You may also be eligible for reduction if you need a bigger property because someone has a disability. If you are unsure how the rules apply to your circumstances, make contact with your local Citizens Advice office.”’

Are you already on the Council tax Reduction Scheme?

Every year West Devon Borough Council/ South Hams District Council has to review its Council Tax Reduction Scheme and decide if it is going to continue with it, replace it or make changes to it. Before it makes any changes it needs to ask residents and other people who may interested in the scheme, what they think.

From November 7 West Devon Borough Council is hoping to run a short consultation on the proposed scheme for 2023/24. (West Devon Hub will be making the decision to go out to public consultation at its meeting on November 1).

The changes the council is proposing for 2023/24 reflect the extra pressure that many households are now feeling.

It is proposing that Band 1, with the highest reduction already, remains unchanged because those residents already are on passported benefits such as income support, and only a slight increase in the reduction for the band for families with more than one child, as this is already very generous.

It is proposed that all other bands in the scheme are uplifted by 20% (above current inflation).

Other proposed changes include change to the minimum income floor for self-employed people and tweaking the earnings disregard to make it easier for the council to administer the scheme and make it easier to understand for residents.