Drop in number of council tax benefits claimants

Less people are claiming council tax benefit. Photo: PA/Joe Giddens
Less people are claiming council tax benefit. Photo: PA/Joe Giddens

Fewer people are claiming reduced council tax in West Lindsey this year, compared with 2017.

Between April and June last year, 6,956 people were receiving some form of council tax relief, according to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) figures.

However over the same period in 2018, that number had dropped to 6,753 – a three per cent decrease.

Across England there were three per cent fewer claimants overall.

People can be eligible to pay reduced council tax if they are on a low income, claim benefits or a pensioner.

The amount can vary from a five per cent discount, to only paying five per cent of the total bill.

The Government sets the rate at which pensioners pay council tax, however individual local authorities decide on working claimants.

In West Lindsey the number of pensioners claiming council tax relief dropped by 187 last year, and the number of working age claimants reduced by 16.

In 2013 the Government stopped fully funding council tax relief.

The Local Government Association believes this could have affected people on low incomes, and is urging the MHCLG to take back control of the reduction programmes.

A spokesman said: “Council tax support schemes are no longer fully-funded by central Government, with £1.7 billion – nearly half of the original funding – removed between 2013 and 2020.

“As a result, more than 573,000 households no longer received council tax support in October 2017 in comparison to October 2013.

“No one wants to ask those on the lowest incomes to pay more but many councils have been put in an impossible position.

“Faced with significant cuts to the money they have to look after the elderly and disabled, protect children, repair the roads and collect the bins, many councils have had little choice but to reduce the discount.”