New legislation that makes council tax fairer is introduced today.
This new legislation removes the power to imprison people for not paying their council tax and exempts young people (up to the age of 25) leaving care from paying council tax.
These changes are the latest in a series of measures designed to make council tax fairer, protecting some of Wales’ most vulnerable individuals from the increasing financial pressures they are facing at a time when they need it most.
Alongside the legislative changes the Welsh Government, WLGA and local authorities in Wales have made a commitment to take a more consistent and people-focused approach to debt, arrears and enforcement with the introduction of the Council Tax Protocol for Wales.
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:
“We know that households are struggling to cope with the UK government’s welfare reform and I want to make sure the Welsh Government and our local authorities are doing everything we can to help. This new legislation is another positive step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go.
“We will continue to work closely 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.”
Councillor Mary Sherwood (Swansea), Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) spokesperson for Equalities, Welfare Reform and Anti-Poverty said:
“The Council Tax Protocol for Wales is a step-change in our approach to debt and arrears and will focus on early engagement with tax payers. It also promotes closer working relationships with our partners in the advice sector and enforcement agents to ensure that problems don’t needlessly spiral out of control for vulnerable people.
“We look forward to building upon these measures with Welsh Government.”
Council tax is vital to maintaining the local services which we all rely upon, however, the Welsh Government believes that those who are less able to contribute should be treated fairly and with dignity. This new legislation encourages early and constructive dialogue between individuals and local authorities and ensures a consistent approach across Wales.