Agenda item

Approval of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme and the Council Tax Base for 2023/24

Report by Director of Finance


The Director of Finance submitted a report regarding the Council Tax support scheme, estimated Council Tax collection rate and Council Tax base for the 2023/24 financial year.  The report explained that Section 33 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012 required the Council, as the Billing Authority, to calculate a Council Tax Base for its area by 31 January each year. 


The report explained that ordinarily, the declared surplus/deficit was paid out/recoverable by the Collection Fund in full in the following financial year.  However, Government had introduced new legislation that required any 2020/21 in-year deficit to be spread equally across the three financial years 2021/22 - 2023/24, to help ease the financial impact of Covid-19 on Local Authorities.  Any residual brought forward balance from 2021/22 or any in-year balance from 2022/23 would not be eligible for phasing and must be accounted for in full in 2023/24.  As 2023/24 would be the third and final year of recovering the 2020/21 deficit balance, the total net balance must be paid out/recovered in full in 2023/24.  The estimated balance as at 31 March 2023 on the Council Tax Collection Fund was a projected surplus of £2.023m, after taking into account the final year of the three-year phasing of the 2020/21 deficit balance. The Council’s overall share of this net surplus was £1.723m.


Each year, the Government amended the Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Prescribed Requirements) (England) Regulations 2012 to ensure that pension-age Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) schemes were updated in line with changes in the wider benefits system. The annual update also provided an opportunity to ensure that the residency requirements for accessing both pension-age and working-age LCTS remain consistent with the UK’s immigration policy. These updates would be incorporated into the Council’s 2023/24 Scheme in accordance with the principles of the Council’s original Local Scheme.


The report also stated that the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and Local Government Finance Act 2012 had replaced the Council Tax Benefit scheme with a locally determined Council Tax Reduction Scheme, which was effectively a type of Council Tax discount.  The legislation required the Council to approve the scheme by the end of January preceding the start of the financial year.  The recommended Scheme for 2023/24 was based on the Scheme agreed by Council for 2022/23. 


The following motion was moved by Councillor Brock and seconded by Councillor Terry and CARRIED:


Resolved –


(1)          That the existing Council Tax Local Reduction Scheme be retained for 2023/24;


(2)          That the Tax Base calculation for 2023/24 of 57,826.56 band D equivalent properties be approved;


(3)          That the assumed Council Tax collection rate of 98.5% for 2023/24 be noted;


(4)          That the 2023/24 Council Tax Reduction Scheme would be updated in line with the Scheme’s regulations be noted;


(5)          That it be noted that the estimated balance of the Council Tax Collection Fund as at 31st March 2022 was an overall surplus of £2.023m, after taking into account the final year of the three-year phasing of the 2020/21 deficit balance, the Council’s overall share of this net surplus was £1.723m.

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