Proposed changes to Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2023-24

Audience: Council Tax payers, advice and advocacy organisations, registered providers, recipients of local Council Tax support, parish councils, public sector partners

This consultation is now closed. It was open from 18 October 2022 to 18 November 2022.

As part of West Suffolk Council’s work to ease the cost of living for communities it is looking at possible options to increase for one year the discount for Council Tax given to people on low incomes.

This is known as the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

In light of the national challenge of the cost of living the council seeks to engage with the public and stakeholders on options with a consultation which is open until 18 November 2022.

The changes would be temporary and would take effect from 1 April 2023. If implemented, these changes would mean that for 2023-24 only the maximum discount a working-age resident could receive on their Council Tax would increase from 91.5 per cent to either 95 per cent or 100 per cent (depending on the final decision). This would reduce the amount that many Council Tax payers have to pay and could result in some working-age residents paying zero Council Tax.  From April 2024 the maximum discount would automatically revert back to 91.5 per cent.

The proposed changes do not affect pensioners, who are covered by a different element of the Council Tax discount scheme which already offers a maximum discount of 100%.

Separate from these proposals, the figures used in the calculation of how much a Council Tax payer needs to live on (known as the applicable amounts) will be automatically increased in 2023-24 in line with Government policy. This will enable a number of new residents to claim Council Tax support for the first time.

If agreed through a full Council decision it would see for the average working age recipient of the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (LCTRS) up to an additional £103 discount on their Council Tax for the single year. This would benefit around 4,700 people.

The proposal is highly targeted to reach those who are already on means tested benefits and has low administrative costs.

Further background on the proposed changes is available in this report: Decision - Review of the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2023 to 2024 and decision to consult

This online consultation is open from 18 October to 18 November 2022 to take part online visit: Have your say

Paper copies are also available on request from or 01638 719454.

The consultation is being sent to a range of stakeholders, including those who work with people in receipt of Council Tax support.

Feedback from the consultation will be considered by Cabinet on 6 December 2022 making its recommendation to full Council on 13 December. If agreed, the changes would come into effect for one year from April 2023.

At the moment these are just draft proposals which the council will want to hear people’s thoughts on before they are considered to be taken forward. It is part of a range of ways the council is supporting communities including those with the highest risk of financial hardship as a result of the current cost of living crisis.