Government Support for Council Tax Hardship Fund

02/04/2020

As part of its response to COVID-19, the government announced in the Budget on 11 March that it would provide local authorities in England with £500 million of new grant funding to support economically vulnerable people and households in their local area.

Guildford Borough Council has been allocated £469,380 in funding. Monies will be paid out as soon as possible but without a defined date.

Summary of points:

  • Expectation is to provide all recipients of working age local council tax support ('LCTS') during the financial year 2020-21 with a further reduction in their annual council tax bill of £150
  • Where a taxpayer's liability for 2020-21 is, following the application of council tax support, less than £150, then their liability would be reduced to nil
  • There should be no need for any recipient of LCTS to make a separate claim for a reduction under this scheme. The billing authority should assess who is eligible for support from the hardship fund and automatically rebill those council taxpayers
  • Council should establish their own local approach to using any remaining grant to assist those in need e.g.:
  • Council tax relief using existing discretionary discount/hardship policies (adapted where necessary in order to capture those most likely to be affected by COVID-19); and
  • Additional support outside the council tax system through Local Welfare or similar schemes;
  • A higher level of council tax reduction for those working age LCTS recipients whose annual liability exceeds £150.
  • Council tax reductions should be applied as soon as possible from the beginning of the 2020-21 financial year and billing authorities should rebill council taxpayers as quickly as practical. Authorities will want to make the local population aware of how the grant support package will be delivered, e.g. through providing information on their websites
  • Any assistance provided from the council tax hardship fund will not affect the eligibility of recipients for other benefits

Applications can be made through Guildford Borough Council website at https://www.guildford.gov.uk/localcounciltaxsupport