About

Council Tax Support Update provides the latest information and analysis on the changes to Council Tax Support. It details the key features of each Council Tax Support scheme across England alongside an analysis of the impacts of the reform.

About Council Tax Support

In April 2013, Council Tax Benefit (CTB) was replaced with Council Tax Support (CTS). CTB was not a benefit as such, but gave low income households a discount on the amount of Council Tax they had to pay, often to nothing.

The change marked a historic move from a nationally devised system to one of 326 different local schemes in England. Alongside this restructuring, the money provided by central government to fund CTS was cut by 10%. Each local authority is now responsible for devising its own scheme within the reduced budget. They are also responsible for any shortfall or surplus in the CTS budget. The change from CTB to CTS is designed to:

  • increase local authorities’ financial autonomy;
  • give local authorities a greater financial stake in the economic future of their area;
  • save £410 million in a year across England.

Apart from one major requirement – that pensioners receive the same amount as they did in 2011/12 – councils have near full autonomy to create and amend the new local schemes. They have been advised to devise schemes that encourage work and protects the vulnerable, but defining the vulnerable is at the discretion of each local authority.

The Scottish Government and the Convention of Local Authorities in Scotland have absorbed the cut, protecting those who previously received CTB.

About this research

The information on this site is gathered from local authorities and other official sources by the New Policy Institute (NPI) or is NPI’s own analysis.

Information on individual Council Tax Support schemes was collected via a combination of Freedom of Information requests, communications with local authority staff, and from local authority websites.

Our assessment of the impacts of the reform is derived from a model which draws upon both the data collected directly from local authorities and data from the Department of Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions.

This project is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The responsibility for the accuracy of this website, including any errors or misunderstandings, lies with the New Policy Institute. 

Affected by the changes to Council Tax Support?

This is not an advice site. If you believe that you have or may be affected by the changes, please contact your local authority for further details or Citizens Advice for support.

If you are a single parent receiving child maintenance which your local authority is counting as income in the calculation of Council Tax Support, please visit the Gingerbread website.