Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government
Today, I am publishing the Council Tax Reduction Scheme Annual Report for 2020-21.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed of the findings of the research. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns, I would be happy to do so.
Since 2013-14, the Welsh Government has continued to protect vulnerable and low‑income households across Wales by maintaining full entitlements to support with their council tax bills under our Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS).
We have continued to support the scheme with the provision of £244m in the annual local government settlement. The tailored nature of our national scheme means that this support is targeted towards those who need it most.
In 2020-21, this meant that over 283,000 vulnerable and low-income households – around one in five households – benefited from a reduction in their council tax. Of these, approximately 226,000 paid no council tax at all.
During the financial year from April 2020 to March 2021 we provided local authorities with an extra £11 million to support CTRS. This covered the increased award of applications for the scheme as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are continuing to monitor the challenges presented by the longer term impacts of the pandemic on low‑income and vulnerable households and on local authorities.
As always, and particularly in the current uncertain and challenging circumstances, I would encourage everyone to check our website to see whether they are entitled for help with their council tax bill under our reduction scheme or one of the other discounts available.
Our Programme for Government sets out our commitment to seek to reform council tax to make it fairer for all. We have begun considering the options for how we achieve this, building on our work over the 5th Senedd term. In February, we published a Summary of Findings drawing together the detailed work to explore reforms to council tax and non‑domestic rates, and the wider local government finance system.
I am grateful for the continued assistance of local authorities in delivering CTRS and in helping to ensure that this important financial support reaches eligible households. I remain committed to ensuring further action is taken to mitigate the consequences for people affected by the UK Government’s welfare reforms.