WITH more people than ever facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus crisis, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans is urging everyone to check if they are eligible for help with paying their council tax bills.
The Welsh Government’s flagship Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) already supports almost 300,000 low-income households in Wales every year with their council tax bills.
You may be entitled to pay less council tax if:
you believe you live on a low income;
you live alone, or with people/children who do not pay council tax; and
either a student, disabled or severely mentally impaired.
Ensuring that vulnerable households are benefiting from the help they are entitled to is a priority for the Welsh Government. Last year, the Finance Minister commissioned independent research to understand the impact of the UK Government’s Universal Credit on the CTRS and rent arrears in Wales.
The final report out today shows that for many households in Wales, the move to Universal Credit can have a negative impact on council tax reduction awards, council tax debt or rent arrears. The report also provides more detail about some of the options for making changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and highlights the difficulties some households face in understanding the Universal Credit system as well as its relationship with the CTRS.
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:
“We recognise this is an incredibly challenging time for everyone, with many households across Wales struggling to cope financially due to the effects of Covid‑19. Ensuring every household receives the council tax support they are entitled to is an important part of our commitment to making council tax fairer.
“Whilst today’s report doesn’t take into account the emerging effects of the pandemic, the findings will help us to consider the next steps that are needed to improve the negative impact the UK Government’s Universal Credit system can have on some of the most vulnerable people in Wales.
“At the same time, we are continuing to examine the potential options for reforming local taxation and the wider local government finance system in Wales.”