We’re proposing several changes to Council Tax Support so it works better for working-age people on Universal Credit. We’d like your views before we decide. Pensioners are not affected by these proposals.
What we’re asking
We want your views on proposals for several changes to Council Tax Support – the benefit that helps about one quarter of our residents to pay some of their council tax. Pensioners can receive Council Tax Support for up to 100% of their bill. Working-age people can get support up to a maximum of 82.5% of their bill.
Our proposals only affect working-age people on Universal Credit who have a Council Tax bill and who should also get Council Tax Support.
This affects just over 5,500 households at present but more will become affected as more people move onto Universal Credit. Pensioners and working-age people not on Universal Credit aren’t affected.
The changes make it easier for working-age people on Universal Credit to claim Council Tax Support as well. Currently you have to claim Council Tax Support separately from Universal Credit. The changes also simplify what happens to Council Tax Support when Universal Credit payments change by small amounts. The proposed changes would:
- Make a claim for Council Tax Support automatic as part of the claim for Universal Credit.
- Make re-claiming Council Tax Support after a short break in Universal Credit simpler.
- Simplify what happens to Council Tax Support when Universal Credit payments change by small amounts – which happens about four times a year on average, but it can be every month.
Even very small changes in Universal Credit currently mean a change in Council Tax Support. This means a new council tax bill, a new payment plan, changes to direct debits, etc. So we propose that most small changes in Universal Credit would no longer trigger a change in Council Tax Support. Instead we would not change Council Tax Support until income fell or rose into different bands of income, which we’d set as part of this change.
We’ll base these income bands on how much you have coming in over a basic amount called the ‘applicable amount’. This is the amount the government says your family needs to live on each week.
|Band of income||amount of Council Tax Support*|
|£0 over your 'applicable amount'||= support for 82.5% of council tax|
|£0.01 - £25 over||= support for 70% of council tax|
|£25.01 - £50 over||= support for 45% council tax|
|£50.01 - £75 over||= support for 30% of council tax|
|£75.01 - £80 over||= support for 12% of council tax|
|£80.01+||= no support for council tax|
The maximum is 82.5% because under Manchester's scheme everyone of working age must pay at least 17.5% of their council tax.
*this is the amount before any reduction for non-dependents living in the household.
Why we want to change things
We want to make it easier for people to receive what they should, to understand what they are getting and what Council Tax they have to pay.
Council Tax Support is separate from Universal Credit. It has to be claimed from the Council. We want to link it to Universal Credit so that people don’t have to claim separately or re-provide evidence they’ve already given.
We are not doing this to reduce the amount of Council Tax Support people get. We want to make it simpler to claim and easier to administer. Some people will get more Council Tax Support, others may lose. We expect the overall cost to the council to be about the same as now.
These changes only affect working-age households on Universal Credit getting Council Tax Support. Pensioners and working age households not on Universal Credit are not affected.
This consultation closed on Sunday 16 December.