Simpler access to tax discounts for low-income households

The Welsh Government is consulting on ways to improve its Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme after its 2022-23 report revealed relatively low take-up from households that would potentially be entitled to support. The proposals include linking Universal Credit and the CTR scheme to allow proactive identification of eligible residents.

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Effective and efficient applications

To reduce the burden on applicants the Welsh Government proposes to treat an application for Universal Credit as an automatic application for the CTR scheme. They believe this approach will make sure that more eligible households receive support, reduce admin requirements for the council, and lower the amount of council tax debt.

​Propertymark strongly supports this proposal for low-wage and vulnerable residents. However, we urge the Welsh Government to do a thorough analysis of the impact on individual local authorities before the change is implemented. Where a local authority has high levels of residents in receipt of benefits, the cost to provide the scheme could be higher than any administrative savings made.

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Non-dependent deductions

Where a non-dependent person, such as an adult son or daughter, another relative, or a friend, forms part of a household, the CTR award is reduced in line with the financial contribution that the adult is expected to make. Currently, the deduction from the award is calculated based on the income of the non-dependent person, which is complex and can lead to delays in processing an application.

To resolve this, the Welsh Government presents two options; either to set a flat rate for dependent deductions of £5.80 (subject to annual uprating) or to remove non-dependent deductions altogether.

We believe that a flat-rate deduction is the right option because it strikes a balance between fairness for those eligible and ease of administration for local authorities.

Download the full consultation response