Council Tax Support Scheme budget consultation opens
Liverpool City Council has started consultation over a budget proposal to reduce its Council Tax Support Scheme.
Liverpool is one of just a handful of councils in the country that has maintained the same level of Council Tax Support for working age residents since the scheme replaced Council Tax Benefit in 2013, giving relief on up to 91.5% of bills for households with a low income.
As the council is now facing unprecedented budget pressures, it now has to find savings of £73M in 2023/2024, and further savings in the following two years.
The existing Council Tax Support Scheme provides help for approximately 65,000 households, of which 43,000 are of working age, and 22,000 are of pensionable age, and costs £68 million per year.
The current scheme allows a maximum 91.5% rebate of council tax for working age people, which means that working age people have to pay the first 8.5% of their Council Tax.
The proposal, which would take effect from 1 April 2023, would only affect people of working age and not pensioner households, and would deliver a saving of £3 million.
The council is asking for views on the following options:
Option 1 – Keep the Council Tax Support Scheme the same for 2023/24 (no change)
This option would mean the council would not achieve the £3 million savings it had hoped to achieve and may therefore have to find savings somewhere else, which may result in some other services being stopped, or reduced.
Option 2 – Reduce the maximum amount of Council Tax Support for working age households to 85% of Council Tax liability
A person living in a Band A Council Tax property would have to pay an extra £95 per year.
This would generate approximately £1.7M of extra funding for the council. However, the council would not achieve the £3 million saving and may have to find a further £1.3M million in savings somewhere else, which may result in some other services being stopped or reduced.
Option 3 – Reduce the maximum amount of Council Tax Support for working age households to 80% of Council Tax liability (the council’s preferred option)
A person living in a Band A Council Tax property who is currently receiving the maximum relief of 91.5% would have to pay an extra £168 per year.
This would generate up to £3M in extra funding for the council.