Councils in Wales will receive an additional £5.5m to help them fund the increasing demand on the Welsh Government’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans announced today.
The Council Tax Reduction Scheme has been providing support to hundreds of thousands of households with their council tax bills since it was introduced almost eight years ago. But with many more people facing reduced income or unemployment as a result of Covid-19, the CTRS has received a significant increase in applications.
In the last year the Welsh Government has provided local authorities with almost £11m in additional funding to help them cater for the increased demand on the scheme – providing a lifeline to households that are struggling to cope financially during these difficult times.
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans:
“We are committed to providing a responsible and targeted approach to addressing the financial impact of the pandemic.
“Whilst the coronavirus outbreak is affecting everyone, we recognise the disproportionate impact it is having on some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“The funding I am announcing today will provide local authorities with the financial reassurances they need to continue supporting those who need it most through our Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
“I would encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible for help with their council tax bills to contact their council for advice.”
Councillor Anthony Hunt, WLGA Spokesperson for Resources said:
“This additional funding will be welcomed by local authorities in all parts of Wales to help hard pressed households with their council tax bills. Demand for this support had soared during the past year.
“I would reiterate the words of the Finance Minister that any resident worried about their council tax should get in touch with their local authority.”
The Welsh Government will shortly be publishing analysis on the impact Covid-19 has had on the Council Tax Reduction Scheme. We are also continuing to work with the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) and local authorities to understand the longer term effects of increased demand on the scheme and to assess the extent of any decline in council tax collection on local authorities.