Council Tax Reduction scheme consultation

We consulted residents on proposals to revise the current Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme. Please read the information below to find out more about the proposed changes, and the results of the consultation.

What is the Council Tax Reduction scheme?

The CTR scheme is the way we help people on low incomes pay their council tax bill.

Under the current scheme, the council provides a discount to eligible working age households of up to 85% of their council tax bill (meaning that recipients of a full discount are only responsible for paying 15% of the bill).

This has remained the same for the past five years. The CTR scheme was last revised in 2015/16, when the amount of tax payable by working age claimants was increased from 12% to 15%.

The amount of support a household can get through the CTR scheme is determined by a ‘means test’ – this means we look at the income and capital or savings of your household.

At the moment, the CTR scheme within Salford helps around 25,000 households on a low income to pay their council tax.

What is this consultation about?

Each year the council has to decide whether to change the CTR scheme for working age claimants in its area who it considers to be in financial need. The council is proposing to change the scheme in 2020/21 to provide extra support for eligible low income households.

Persons of pension age will not be affected by the proposals. They will continue to receive a maximum award of 100% if they are on a passported benefit, such as pension credit guarantee or they are under their personal allowance.

What happens after the consultation period has ended?

The information collected from this consultation will be used by the council to assist in making its decision on the changes to the CTR scheme from 1 April 2020.

This consultation ran from Friday 18 October 2019 to midnight Friday 20 December 2019.

Results of the consultation

Before implementing a new Council Tax reduction Scheme, the council is required to consult with residents on the proposed changes. To meet this requirement, Salford undertook a nine week consultation from 18 October 2019 to 20 December 2019.

The consultation took the form of a questionnaire, which was hosted on the ‘Have Your Say’ section of the council’s website, and included a mixture of closed and open questions. Residents were encouraged to take part in the consultation using various methods, including: homepage adverts on both the internet and intranet, posts on the council’s social media pages, and council tax staff with tablets approaching residents in gateway centres to encourage them to complete the questionnaire.

In total, 348 people took the time to complete the consultation. This was a self-selecting sample and the council did not seek to control for demographic characteristics.

We do not believe that the consultation results reveal any reason not to proceed with the proposals from April 2020. Overall, 61% of respondents to the consultation support the proposal to increase the CTR support to 88% and 49% of respondents support the introduction of the ‘de minimis’ rule.

Highlight results are available below:

Question Yes No Don’t know / prefer not to say
1. Do you currently receive Council Tax Reduction Scheme support?   64 (19%) 273 (78%) 11 (3%)  
2. The maximum Council Tax Reduction we can award to people of working age is 85% of their council tax bill. Do you think we should increase the support to a maximum of 88%, so the minimum working age households have to pay is 12% rather than 15%?   211 (61%) 101 (29%) 36 (10%)  
3. To simplify the administration, the council proposes that if a person’s CTR scheme entitlement is reviewed because of a change in their income or personal allowance, a bill will only be issued if the change causes their weekly CTR scheme entitlement to increase or decrease over a threshold.   Do you agree with the proposal not to amend the Council Tax Reduction scheme calculation if the result of the adjustment is £2 per week more or less? 170 (49%) 93 (27%) 85 (24%)  
4. Do you think the council should retain the existing CTR scheme with a 15% minimum payment contribution?   122 (35%) 155 (45%) 71 (20%)  
5. Do you have any other suggestions how the CTR scheme can be changed?   96 (28% of all respondents) 8 (2% of all respondents) n/a  

Council Tax Reduction scheme

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