Council tax rose this year all over Britain – adding £80 for a Band D property in England, £72 in Wales
and £35 in Scotland – but if your income is low you can get your bill cut if you apply for Council Tax Reduction.
The rules are complicated, however, and are different in England, Scotland and Wales.
In England, individual councils can decide their own rules for people of working age, which means the amount of help you get is a postcode lottery.
If you have been refused before, you may get help this year if you have reached – or are approaching – your 65th birthday or if you have moved house.
The average council tax across England is £1,258. But that hides a range from less than £1,000 to more than £2,000.
The figures in this piece apply to the average. If you pay more than that, then you may get help at a higher income level than those stated.
The reduction is means tested. A single person aged over 65 paying average council tax can get all their council tax paid if their income is £176 a week or less (single) or up to £263 (couple).
And they will get some reduction on a tapering scale if their income is below £266 a week (single) or £384 (couple). The limits are higher if either is severely disabled or a carer.
However, savings over £10,000 can reduce the help given, sometimes to zero. Some pensioners will get nothing if their savings exceed £16,000.
For working-age people the figures are much worse. The upper income limit for any help on average council tax
bills is £163 a week for a single person and for a couple is £235.
To get all of it paid the limit is £73 a week (single) and £114 (couple). In most areas of England the amounts are much lower.
Savings over £6,000 can reduce the help further. Almost everywhere in England, even the poorest people are expected to pay some council tax – typically around £200 a year.
There are other circumstances under which you might be entitled to a reduction. Those who are single or have a severe physical or mental disability – including dementia or Alzheimer’s – should be eligible, for example. In all cases, applications should be made to the council that sends the bill.
For more information, information, visit entitledto.co.uk.