Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Regeneration
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Cabinet Member approval sought.
1. That the Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Regeneration approved the following recommendations to be made to the Council for the financial year 2020/21:-
(i) that the Council Tax discount for second homes remains at 0%
(ii) the Council Tax discounts for empty properties, including the discounts that replaced the previous Class A and C Council Tax exemptions, remain at 0%.
(iii) that a Long-Term Empty Property Premium continues at the maximum percentage allowed for by the current legislation, which is for 2020/21:
- Properties empty between 2 years - 5 years: 100% Increase
- Properties empty over 5 years: 200% Increase
(iv) That the Head of Revenues and Benefits be given delegated authority to determine any individual local discount applications received from
Council Taxpayers during the 2020/21 financial year under section 13A(1)(c) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
2. That the Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Regeneration recommended that the Council approves the same Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2020/21 which has operated successfully since 2013/14 and that the following be noted: The scheme is based on the Default Scheme Regulations, updated to reflect changes made via the Prescribed Requirements Amendment Regulations and with War Disabled Pensions, War Widow, Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation scheme payments disregarded in full when calculating a claimant’s income. A minor change is proposed for 2020/21. The Scheme applies a capital cut off limit of £16,000, so that anyone with savings of £16,000 or more is not entitled to Council Tax Support. It is proposed that any capital and income received as a result of a charitable or support payment connected with the Grenfell Tower fire is fully disregarded when deciding eligibility for Council Tax Support. This is expected to only apply to a small number of households who have been permanently rehoused in Westminster after losing their homes in the Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk. This is a change recommended by central government to all local authorities.
3. That the Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Regeneration recommended that the Council agrees that the Council Tax Base for 2020/21 for the Whole City is 132,698.31equivalent Band D properties, for Montpelier Square alone 97.08 equivalent Band D properties and for Queen’s Park 3,554.14 equivalent Band D properties.
4. That the Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Regeneration recommended that the Council agrees that the figures as set out in 3. above for the Council Tax Base for 2020/21 be used by the Council to make a determination pursuant to the requirements of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
Reasons for Decision
1. The taxbase decision is sought in order that the Council complies with the requirements of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
2. The retention of the same levels of Council Tax discount for empty properties and second homes will continue to deliver additional Council Tax income for the Council without disadvantaging any vulnerable members of the community.
3. The recommendation to allow the Head of Revenues and Benefits to continue to determine any individual local discount claims will enable assistance to be given to individual Council Taxpayers if required, especially as there is no longer the ability for taxpayers to claim Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) in relation to their Council Tax liability. This also provides the mechanism for granting the local Council Tax discount for Care Leavers.
4. The Council’s proposed Council Tax Reduction Scheme will mean that the level of Council Tax Support provided to the borough’s working age claimants will effectively mirror that previously provided under the national Council Tax Benefit scheme.
5. The recommendation to set the Long-Term Empty Property Premium at the new maximum allowed for within current legislation aligns with the Council’s City for All agenda and the Council’s aim of a fairer Council Tax system for all residents.
Publication date: 02/01/2020
Date of decision: 02/01/2020