Laura Sharman 29 January 2019

Cuts to council tax support have created ‘sizeable’ increase in arrears

Cuts to council tax support (CTS) have led to a surge in unpaid tax, new research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies has revealed.

In a new report, the IFS found most local authorities have chosen to implement CTS schemes that are less generous that the council tax benefit they were replacing.

This includes the introduction of minimum council tax payments, with almost a quarter of council requiring a 20% minimum payment in 2018–19.

It found more deprived and Labour councils were more likely to introduce minimum payments as they had received larger cuts to CTS funding from the Government.

However, it estimates that around a quarter of the extra council tax now owed by low-income households has not been collected in the year it is due – a figure that is ten times higher than the typical rate of council tax non-collection.

The report states: ‘These difficulties in collecting the extra tax appear to be long-lasting: we estimate that councils failed to collect a quarter of the additional liabilities created by minimum payments in 2017–18 even when the minimum payment had been in place since 2013–14.’

Council leaders said CTS schemes were no longer fully funded by the Government with almost £2bn removed between 2013 and 2020.

'No one wants to ask those on the lowest incomes to pay more but this has put councils in an impossible position,' said Cllr Richard Watts, chair of the Local Government Association’s Resources Board.

He added: 'Councils have worked hard to try and protect discounts as much as possible but the Spending Review needs to ensure councils have the full amount of funding required to provide council tax support to those who need it. Otherwise, it is almost inevitable that bills will continue to be forced up for those who can least afford to pay.'

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Road Worker

City of Bradford MDC
Band 6 £20,043 - £22,129 pa
Bradford Metropolitan District Council is looking for two Road Workers to join the Highway Delivery Unit. Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Senior Practitioner - Family Support and Protection

Essex County Council
£41552 - £50290 per annum + + Free Parking & Local Gov Package
Closing Date
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Planning Enforcement Officer

Greater Cambridge Shared Planning
Grade 5, £30,737 - £35,747 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen within the Greater Cambridge Planning Enforcement Team Cambourne/Cambridge/Hybrid
Recuriter: Greater Cambridge Shared Planning

Assistant Engineer / Engineer

City of Bradford MDC
£24,920 - £34,373 pa
This is an opportunity to join the highway maintenance team Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Technician - Maintenance Programmes (3 Posts)

Derbyshire County Council
£23,657 - £25,568 per annum - Plus market leading package (see below)
This is an exciting time to join our in-house Highways Service Hybrid
Recuriter: Derbyshire County Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.