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Agenda item

Council Tax Reduction Scheme and Council Tax Discounts 2021/22

At its meeting on 26 August 2020 the Executive Committee considered the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and Council Tax Discounts for 2021/22 and RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL:

1.   That the default Council Tax Reduction Scheme be ADOPTED effective from 1 April 2021 with a minor revision to the national working age regulations to allow for a de minimis tolerance for income changes.

2.   That authority be delegated to the Head of Finance and Asset Management, in consultation with the Lead Member for Finance and Asset Management, to agree the uprating of the working age regulations incorporated into the local Council Tax Reduction Scheme in line with those announced by the Department for Work and Pensions.

3.   That the following Council Tax discounts be ADOPTED effective from 1 April 2021:

·          The discount for unoccupied and substantially unfurnished properties is 25% for a maximum period of six months.

·          The discount for properties which are vacant and require major repair work to render them habitable is 25% for a maximum period of 12 months.

·          The discount for unoccupied furnished properties (second homes) is zero.

·          An empty homes premium of an additional 100% is levied on properties that have remained unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least two years, but less than five years.

·          An empty homes premium of an additional 200% is levied on properties that have remained unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least five years, but less than ten years.

·          An empty homes premium of an additional 300% is levied on properties that have remained unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least ten years.

Minutes:

27.1          At its meeting on 26 August 2020, the Executive Committee had considered the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and Council Tax Discounts 2021/22 and recommended to Council that the default Council Tax Reduction Scheme be adopted effective from 1 April 2021 with a minor revision to the national working age regulations to allow for a de minimis tolerance for income changes; that authority be delegated to the Head of Finance and Asset Management, in consultation with the Lead Member for Finance and Asset Management, to agree the uprating of the working age regulations incorporated into the local Council Tax Reduction Scheme in line with those announced by the Department for Work and Pensions; that the following Council Tax discounts be adopted effective from 1 April 2021: the discount for unoccupied and substantially unfurnished properties is 25% for a maximum period of six months; the discount for properties which are vacant and require major repair work to render them habitable is 25% for a maximum period of 12 months; the discount for unoccupied furnished properties (second homes) is zero; an empty homes premium of an additional 100% is levied on properties that have remained unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least two years, but less than five years; an empty homes premium of an additional 200% is levied on properties that have remained unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least five years, but less than ten years; and an empty homes premium of an additional 300% is levied on properties that have remained unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least ten years.

27.2          The report which was considered by the Executive Committee had been circulated with the Agenda for the current meeting at Pages No. 15-20.

27.3          The Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee, who had chaired the meeting on 26 August 2020, proposed the recommendation and the Lead Member for Finance and Asset Management seconded it.

27.4          A brief discussion ensued, in which a Member questioned how ‘substantially unfurnished’ was defined. In response, the Revenues and Benefits Manager indicated that this was a property that was essentially devoid of furniture which someone would need to live there, e.g. no bed, however, if it had white goods it could still be deemed to be substantially unfurnished.

27.5          Accordingly, it was

RESOLVED    1.    That the default Council Tax Reduction Scheme be       ADOPTED effective from 1 April 2021 with a minor revision to the national working age regulations to allow for a de minimis tolerance for income changes.

2.       That authority be delegated to the Head of Finance and Asset Management, in consultation with the Lead Member for Finance and Asset Management, to agree the uprating of the working age regulations incorporated into the local Council Tax Reduction Scheme in line with those announced by the Department for Work and Pensions.

3.       That the following Council Tax discounts be ADOPTED effective from 1 April 2021:

·      The discount for unoccupied and substantially unfurnished properties is 25% for a maximum period of six months.

·      The discount for properties which are vacant and require major repair work to render them habitable is 25% for a maximum period of 12 months.

·      The discount for unoccupied furnished properties (second homes) is zero.

·      An empty homes premium of an additional 100% is levied on properties that have remained unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least two years, but less than five years.

·      An empty homes premium of an additional 200% is levied on properties that have remained unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least five years, but less than ten years.

·      An empty homes premium of an additional 300% is levied on properties that have remained unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least ten years.

Supporting documents: