Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme
The Welfare Reform Act 2012 abolished Council Tax Benefit and from 1 April 2013 all councils had to introduce a Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (LCTRS) for working age residents.
Sandwell's first LCTRS was approved by council in January 2013 and was based predominantly on the Council Tax Benefit Scheme with the following amendments:
- Capital cut-off limit was reduced from £16k to £6k
- Minimum Benefit of £1 per week was introduced
- Second Adult Rebate was removed
- Council Tax Reduction was based on a maximum of band C Council Tax charge
- Benefit taper was increased from 20% to 25%
- Residents making a new claim for LCTRS must have been residing in the borough for at least two years prior to making a claim.
In July 2014, the Administrative Court ruled that Sandwell Council could no longer apply the two year residency requirement in its Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Due to this ruling, we had to revise the LCTRS for 2015/2016.
A draft scheme was prepared and consultation with residents and stakeholders took place between September and November 2014.
The survey results confirmed overall agreement with the changes we proposed to the LCTRS.
Sandwell’s LCTRS for 2015/2016 was approved by the council in January 2015. The following amendments have been made to the scheme:
- The two-year residency requirement has been removed
- A standard non-dependant charge of £10 per week has been introduced for non-dependants in full-time work
- A standard non-dependant charge of £5 per week has been introduced for non-dependants not in full-time work.
To help make work pay, the following changes have also been made:
- The first £25 of earnings is disregarded each week when working out entitlement to LCTR
- Where a claimants total income is more than the amount they need to live on each week, the percentage of their free income that should be used towards payment of Council Tax has been reduced from 25% to 20%.
Pensioners are not be affected by these changes.
Sandwell's Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2017/2018 is unchanged from 2015/2016 and 2016/2017.
For further information on LCTR please see How to claim Council Tax Reduction.