Merton Council

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Council Tax Support update for 2022/23

Each year the Government makes changes to the legislation that governs the calculation and award of the prescribed Council Tax Support (CTS) Scheme for pensioners and Housing Benefit (HB). These changes affect several aspects of these awards and Merton has a commitment to keep the local CTS scheme for non-pensioners aligned to the Government’s schemes. This ensures there are little or no differences between the prescribed scheme and Housing Benefit and the local CTS scheme and residents will get broadly the same CTS as they would have done if Council Tax Benefit still existed. We are consulting on two options relating to updating the scheme. 

Option 1 – Incorporate any changes made to the HB regulations and the prescribed Local Council Tax Reduction scheme (either known now or to be introduced before the CTS Scheme is published) to ensure it aligns with these schemes.

The effect of this will be that:

  • any changes made to the Government’s schemes would be reflected in the local council tax support scheme. This includes the rules relating to claiming and who is eligible to claim as well as increases or decreases in student income, applicable amounts, personal allowances and deductions for non dependant adults used to calculate entitlement to local CTS.
  • We will maintain the policy not to restrict applicable amounts to two dependant children - this will give higher awards than the equivalent prescribed scheme and HB scheme. 
  • The remaining rules in the CTS scheme will stay aligned to the prescribed Local Council Tax reduction scheme and the Housing Benefit regulations.

 

Option 2 - Continue to award Council Tax Support based on the current scheme, including the current rates of applicable amounts, personal allowances and non-dependent deductions.   The effect of this will be that:

  • the applicable amounts and personal allowances would remain the same and therefore the claimant would receive a reduced award of Council Tax Support compared to the amount they would have got under the Government’s previous Council Tax Benefit scheme.  
  • Where a claimant has non-dependents living with them, the amount that the non-dependents are expected to contribute would not increase and they would be better off than previous years;
  • The CTS scheme will not match the rules applicable to the prescribed scheme and the Housing Benefit scheme.
  • We will maintain the policy not to restrict applicable amounts to two dependant children - this will give higher awards than the equivalent prescribed scheme and HB scheme. 

We will retain the change made in 2021-22, to enable the council to make changes mid year which enables us to reflect mid-year  changes to the prescribed scheme and Housing Benefit by the government.

Please see the Council Tax Support  page  for the updating briefing paper with more details about these 2 options.