How has CTS affected claimants across England?
From April 2013, local authorities across England were given the power to devise their own systems of Council Tax Support (CTS) for working-age adults. It replaced the national system of the Council Tax Benefit (CTB) which ensured that the poorest households did not have to pay council tax.
Each year the local authority decides how CTS should work in their area. Now in its fourth year, 2.2 million low income families will pay on average £169 more in council tax in 2016/17 than they would have if CTB were still in place, up from £167 in 2015/16, £160 in 2014/15 and £145 in 2013/14.
While the average amount of additional council tax paid has only increased by £2 on average between 2015/16 and 2016/17, the graph below shows that 340,000 working-age claimants are in areas where the minimum payment required increased in April 2016 or has been introduced for the first time. In these areas, the increase for many claimants will be much more than £2.
Among the 340,000 families affected by upward movements in the minimum payment, 70,000 lived in areas where a minimum payment was introduced for the first time in April 2016. These claimants will pay on average £171 additional council tax compared to the previous year. The remaining 270,000 lived in areas where an existing minimum payment was increased by the council.
The graph shows that the total number of working-age CTS claimants has fallen since 2013/14. This is largely due to rising employment but some claimants will no longer be entitled to CTS due to a change in their to local scheme rather than a change in their circumstances.