Issue - meetings

*Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2024/25

Meeting: 26/10/2023 - Cabinet (Item 66)

66 *Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 132 KB

To consider and decide on the recommendations as set out in the associated report.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED – That Full Council be recommended

 

1. That the progress of the income banded Council Tax Reduction Scheme be noted.

 

2. That no changes be made to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2024/25, except for a percentage increase to the income bands in line with the DWP annual percentage uprating increase be approved.

 

3. That the financial impacts to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council of a full range of Council Tax Reduction Schemes is fully costed be approved.

 

REASON FOR DECISION:  To continue with the new system that has provided a simplified inbuilt claiming process covering a wide range of income ranges.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Chris Hall, Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

 

-       The Council Tax Reduction Scheme was a very difficult tax to unravel in terms of the Council’s relationship with the other agencies involved (KCC, Police, Fire Brigade etc.).  Further complicated because KCC provided funds to the Council to administer the scheme.

-       It was the intention of some groups that the scheme should be addressed but to do so, required a much longer run in than was currently available.

-       It was noted, the recommendations would be supported but no guarantees could be given for future years.

-       TWBC were the billing authority for KCC, Police etc. If TWBC wanted to change the scheme, it would have an impact on the other preceptors and could therefore not be considered in isolation. 

-       TWBC continued to work on ways to best support the least well off in the Borough.

 

RESOLVED – That Full Council be recommended

 

1. That the progress of the income banded Council Tax Reduction Scheme be noted.

 

2. That no changes be made to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2024/25, except for a percentage increase to the income bands in line with the DWP annual percentage uprating increase be approved.

 

3. That the financial impacts to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council of a full range of Council Tax Reduction Schemes is fully costed be approved.

 

REASON FOR DECISION:  To continue with the new system that has provided a simplified inbuilt claiming process covering a wide range of income ranges.

 


Meeting: 10/10/2023 - Finance and Governance Cabinet Advisory Board (Item 43)

43 *Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To consider and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the proposals set out in the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Zoe Kent, Interim Head of Mid Kent Revenues and Benefits Partnership introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

 

-       The scheme provided a maximum of 80% reduction in Council Tax.  There were some authorities in East Kent that offered a higher reduction (up to 90%), no authorities in Kent offered 100%.

-       The Council received an administration grant from KCC and the major preceptors (Police, Fire etc.) of £150k towards the cost of managing the scheme.

-       If TWBC decided to award an amount higher than 80%, it was likely the administration grant would be removed.

-       If the Council increased the amount offered to 85% reduction in Council Tax, the additional cost would be £180k across all preceptors, with the Council’s share being £18k (10%).

-       It should be noted, the Council could also face the possible loss of the administration grant, and the possibility of an additional cost from Maidstone Borough Council for running the service. 

-       For TWBC to offer an amount above 80%, e.g. 85% reduction, it would cost TWBC £18k plus an agreement from KCC and the other preceptors.

-       Because TWBC collected Council Tax on behalf of the other agencies, it was not possible to look at the scheme in isolation.

-       The Council could not decide to award an additional 5% and bear the costs without consultation with the other agencies because it was a reduction in everyone’s tax base. 

-       The total cost if TWBC were to fund the scheme would be £180k.

-       A breakdown of the costs for providing reductions in Council Tax from 85% to 100% would be sent to Members after the meeting.

-       Less than 10% of the Council Tax received came to the Council. The remaining 90% went to KCC and the other preceptors. 

-       The scheme was a fair scheme.  To provide more funding would require extensive discussions with the other preceptors and the other Districts and Boroughs in Kent.

-       It was unfortunate that not all the data was available as without it, it was difficult to make a decision.

-       Tunbridge Wells was considered an affluent area, so for those less well off, even paying 20% could prove difficult. 

-       It was suggested and agreed that an additional recommendation be put forward to Cabinet as follows:

“That Cabinet fully costs out the financial impacts to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council of a full range of Council Tax Reduction Schemes”.

 

RESOLVED – That the recommendations to Cabinet set out in the report be supported, with the additional recommendation that Cabinet fully costs out the financial impacts to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council of a full range of Council Tax Reduction Schemes.