The Client Benefit Manager presented a report to update Members of the Corporate Affairs and Audit Committee on the position regarding Council Tax Support as at 30 September 2014 and to seek approval to the Council Tax Support (CTS) scheme for 2015/2016.
The number of households in Middlesbrough currently receiving CTS was 20,825. Included in the 20,825 households were 4,796 households who received full CTS with no Council Tax to pay. This figure included pensioner households where CTS had been calculated on 100% of their Council Tax liability and their income was low enough to qualify for full CTS.
The remaining 16,029 households were 2,537 pensioner households who had their CTS worked out based on 100% of their Council Tax liability, but did not qualify for full CTS due to their income, capital or personal circumstances. In addition, there were 13,492 households who were of working age and had their reduction calculated based on 80% of their Council Tax liability. All of those households had to pay at least 20% of their Council Tax.
Of the 16,029 households in receipt of CTS who had something to pay, 1,945 had paid their Council Tax in full, 9,641 had made payments towards their Council Tax and 4,443 had not paid anything.
From 1 April 2014 until 25 November 2014, 10,851 summonses to Court had been issued for non-payment of Council Tax. This included 4,926 accounts who received CTS.
It was noted that once a summons to Court had been issued an additional £65 was added to the Council Tax account. If Court Bailiffs were instructed, this generated an additional £75 cost. In line with legislation, the maximum amount for an attachment order to earnings was £3.80 per week and the Court costs had to be repaid in the first instance, before the Council could begin to reclaim the Council Tax arrears.
The financial values to date, as at 25 November 2014 were as follows:
The total net Council Tax liability for 2014/2015 for accounts where CTS was applied at 30 September 2014 is £4,486,392.19.
The balance outstanding against the same liability was £2,196,781.72, representing an in-year collection rate of 51.03%.
This compared to an overall in-year collection rate of 67.75%.
It was stressed that the collection rate of 67.75%. was in-year and not for the full financial year and would therefore change.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) had stated their intention to uprate details for the scheme for pensioners from 1 April 2015 as follows:
(a) Personal allowances in line with Pension Credit rates.
(b) Premiums in line with Consumer Price Index.
(c) Non-dependant deductions in line with growth in eligible Council Tax.
In light of this, it was proposed that the approved local CTS scheme was uprated in line with the national CTS scheme for Pensioners. Where amounts were to be uprated for working age people, it was proposed that the amounts would be uprated in line with the amended Housing Benefit regulations for working aged people for 2015/2016 when they were published by the Department for Work and Pensions in January 2015.
ORDERED as follows that:
1. The national uprated figures laid down through the Prescribed Requirement Regulations for Pensions were included in the CTS Scheme for 2015/2016.
2. The amounts used when calculating CTS for working age claimants were uprated in line with the amended Housing Benefits regulations and any deductions taken in respect of non-dependants living in a property were also uprated in line with the Prescribed Requirement Regulations.
3. The Local Council Tax Scheme 2015/2016 for Middlesbrough was approved.