Consultation on proposed changes to the Council Tax Support scheme from 2018

Consultation on proposed changes to the Council Tax Support scheme from 2018

Start date: 18th September 2017 
End date: 12th November 2017

The council is considering changing its Council Tax Support (CTS) scheme for working age customers from April 2018.

Pensioners aged 64+ will not be affected by these proposed changes.

What are we doing and why?

Currently, around 42,200 working age households receive CTS in Liverpool.

In Liverpool between June 2018 and September 2018 Universal Credit will replace new claims for Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Based Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and Tax Credits. These are known as ‘legacy benefits’. 

Universal Credit is adjusted in real time to take account of monthly changes in household income and circumstances. This can result in a new council tax bill being issued with each change of award. This is both costly for the council and inconvenient for the customer. As a result of these changes we need to modernise the CTS scheme.

We believe that our proposed changes will make it easier for people to understand how the CTS scheme works with Universal Credit, and make it easier and cheaper for the council to deal with frequent changes in people’s circumstances.

The proposals we are consulting on

Create two CTS schemes for working age citizens

One for customers in receipt of Universal Credit, and one for customers in receipt of legacy benefits that Universal Credit will replace.

This proposed change will not affect entitlement compared to the current scheme, but would enable the two schemes to be changed in future years.

Set a minimum CTS award and ignore small changes to it

We propose to introduce a minimum weekly amount of CTS we award to working age claimants, for instance £1 or £2, making the scheme more cost effective to run. This proposal would mean that no CTS is awarded where a weekly award is less than £1 or £2.

In addition, small changes in a households circumstances that affect CTS by say £1 or £2 per week would be ignored. 

This could make it easier for claimants to budget ahead, make the scheme more cost effective to run, and cut the cost of council tax administration as a new council tax bill would not need be issued to the customer.

Stop the Second Adult Rebate for working age claimants

Currently, Second Adult Rebate is awarded to working age claimants who have no partner, but live with one other adult on a low income who is not a lodger or tenant.

Many authorities have already stopped giving this rebate as it does not directly relate to the financial circumstances of the council tax payer. We would seek to cease offering this rebate from April 2018.

How to comment

We would like to hear your views on the proposed changes. We welcome comments from all Liverpool residents, whether you claim benefits or not. This is your chance to help us consider if the existing scheme should be changed.

The closing date for comments is midnight on Sunday 12th November 2017.

Complete the online consultation survey

What happens next?

The results of the consultation and the council’s decision will be published on this website after January 2018.

Contact us

If you have any further questions about this consultation you can email assuranceteam@liverpool.gov.uk.