Camden to keep its most in-need households from paying Council Tax
Camden Council has agreed a revised Council Tax Support Scheme for its working aged residents – which will ensure approximately 10,000 of the borough’s most in need households will not pay any council tax.
The new scheme for 2020/2021, backed by almost two-thirds of Camden residents in consultation, supports residents out of work or on low incomes by reducing the amount of Council Tax they need to pay, or removing to altogether. It has been designed to be fairer, simpler and focuses on supporting those least able to pay.
Under the new scheme, 88% of Camden’s eligible working age residents will receive the same or more Council Tax support, while pensioners will not be affected by the changes. The council is setting up a hardship fund to assist residents who are having their support reduced.
The new scheme has also been modified to ensure that Camden residents who are eligible for Council Tax Support will receive the same level of support regardless of whether they are on Universal Credit or a legacy benefit. Without this change, the council estimates that people working and on Universal Credit would receive 10% less on average than people in the same circumstances on a legacy benefit.
The proposals were agreed at the full Council meeting on Monday 20 January 2020.
“Many of our residents have seen their living standards squeezed by austerity, and some have been pushed into poverty through stagnant wages and benefit changes. We won’t stand by and let them get left behind – and this scheme, which we believe to be the most generous council tax reduction scheme in London, is part of our package of support. Our Council Tax Support Scheme is part of our commitment to make Council Tax fairer and when combined with our support for pensioners, will mean we are helping a total of 22,000 households in Camden.
“We are also investing to make life-long learning and training available to all our residents, to ensure they have the skills needed to access local, well-paid employment. From supporting our STEAM commission to helping our children one day access Camden’s growing tech, life-science and creative industries, to a multi-million pound investment in adult learning to get people back into work after extended periods of unemployment, we will help our residents benefit from the new economic opportunities they see around them.”
The Council is set to maintain an overall £25million annual investment in its scheme, which includes £10million directly invested by the Council in addition to the Government’s contribution.
The new scheme will:
- Support the Council’s commitment to fair pay by linking income bands to the London Living Wage. People can increase their earnings within each band without seeing Council Tax Support reduce, supporting those with irregular earning patterns and helping families budget.
- Provide additional support for people with children and/or disabilities, including offsetting childcare costs against income and not including child and disability benefit in income calculations.
- Support households who have young adults living with them up to the age of 25, helping young people live in Camden.
- Allow backdating of claims to the start of a Universal Credit claim to support people moving to the new benefit.
This is in addition to the Council’s previous commitments to exempt young care leavers and foster carers from Council Tax and applying the maximum penalties for empty and second home owners.
Following full Council approval, the new scheme will come into effect from Wednesday, 1 April 2020.
Under Camden’s Council’s new Council Tax Support Scheme, it is estimated that:
- 10,000 working-age households would still not need to pay any council tax, at a time when most boroughs require a minimum contribution from all residents.
- 2,351 households would see an increase in financial support.
- 9,740 households would retain the same level of support.
- 1,620 households would see a reduction in support – these are households who tend to have a higher income.
- Changes to the proposed scheme will save £500,000 in staffing and other administration costs by making processes more simple and reducing bureaucracy.
- Of the £25 million we invest, the current scheme provides £9 million to pensioner households.
The 2020/2021 Council Tax Support Scheme was consulted on for a period of 17 weeks. You can view the consultation results on our website.