Refugee hosts will keep Council Tax discount
Camden Council confirmed today that no person in Camden will face an increase in Council Tax because they choose to open their home to a refugee from Ukraine, or from other parts of the world, through a Government scheme. The Council is calling on the Government to amend the law to make this easier for all local authorities to do the same.
In normal circumstances, if one or more additional adults move into a property, the full rate of Council Tax is payable. Residents who are the only adult living in a home can get a 25% discount on their Council Tax bill. Camden will ensure that anyone in a single person household does not lose their discount.
In addition, Camden will be amending its Council Tax Support Scheme to ensure any resident who wants to provide a home, and who also receives Council Tax Support, will also not be affected. Camden’s Council Tax Support scheme will be amended so that a refugee is not counted as a non-dependent and to disregard the £350 as income. The Council is similarly calling on Government to amend the benefits legislation to ensure the same principles apply for national benefits.
This war continues to bring destruction, fear and anguish to the people of Ukraine and we have a responsibility to do all we can to support those fleeing and to bring an end to their suffering. Camden has always been a place that meets people fleeing conflict with open arms and this is what we’ll do again for people fleeing Ukraine.
“We want to help those in our borough who choose to welcome people coming from Ukraine into their own homes through the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. The preservation of the single person Council Tax discount is just one way we can do that. The Government’s payment will help hosts to cover costs and I don’t want to see that eroded. Our Council Tax discount for single occupants will remain in place for Camden residents who host people from Ukraine and from conflicts in other parts of the world under government sponsored schemes.
Someone is eligible for the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme if they are a Ukrainian national or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national, and were resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022. The Government have said that people arriving under this scheme will be able to live and work in the UK for up to three years and access healthcare, benefits, employment support, education, and English language tuition.
More that 2 million people have left Ukraine in the past fortnight. These are mainly women and children fleeing for their lives, their loved ones and almost all their worldly possessions left behind. A full support package is needed for Ukrainian refugees. If the Government wants local communities to step up and take a lead, we urgently need the resources at a local level to support us to do this. We are clear that a welfare offer should be at the heart of the scheme.
“There are many details the Government still needs to clarify – for instance the vetting process, support for voluntary organisations and changing national legislation on Universal Credit, legacy benefits and Council Tax regulations. While we wait for these and more details from Government on the scheme and funding we are preparing here in Camden.
“Last night, we brought together some of our key partners, voluntary organisations, faith and community leaders in Camden around one table to consider what our support offer could be to Ukrainian refugees and how we could continue to support Afghan refugees and those from other parts of the world in our community. This included working out ways of linking refugees to the many successful welfare projects in Camden that make such a positive different to the lives of our citizens and how we can welcome Ukrainian refugees into our community. I was overwhelmed by the care and dedication of Camden’s community who have always stepped up to provide a warm welcome to those fleeing violence. It made me deeply proud to call Camden home.