Some of Wales’ most vulnerable households could be missing out on valuable support with their council tax the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, Rebecca Evans warned today.
The Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) has been protecting vulnerable and low income households in Wales for 5 years, but the latest annual report out today suggests there are likely to be some households across Wales who are still missing out on support they are entitled to. Last year, the average award for those on the scheme was around £940.
In 2018 to 2019 the scheme supported nearly 280,000 households – or 1 in 5 households in Wales.
Approximately 220,000 of these paid no council tax at all. With households struggling to cope due to the UK government’s approach to welfare reform, the Minister is urging everyone to act now and check if they are entitled to support in paying their council tax bill under our national Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
Rebecca Evans said:
“Despite our continued support for the most vulnerable households in Wales, take-up of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme is gradually decreasing. We know people across Wales are struggling to make ends meet, so I am encouraging everyone to visit our website and check if they are eligible for the scheme or one of the other discounts which are available.”
The Welsh Government has also commissioned external research, which it hopes will help to identify households who might be missing out. The research is currently looking to understand the impact of Universal Credit on take-up of our CTRS and the value of council tax reductions, and also includes the impact of Universal Credit on rent arrears in Wales. The research is due to be published in early 2020 and the findings will be used to help inform the development of the CTRS scheme going forward.
In the meantime we are continuing to work with local authorities, the WLGA and third sector organisations to examine how the council tax system could be improved over the short, medium and longer term.