Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
Sets out Council Tax base for 24/25 and recommendations on Council Tax discounts
Cabinet approved the following recommendations:
· Approve the following recommendations for the financial year 2024/25:-
(i) that the Council Tax discount for second homes remains at 0%
(ii) that 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 percentages allowed for by the current legislation for the 2024/25 financial year. which includes commencing the premium a year after a property has been empty, rather than the current 2 years.
(iv) that the Director of Revenues & Benefits be given delegated authority to determine any individual local discount applications received from Council Taxpayers during the 2024/25 financial year under section 13A(1)(c) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
· Recommend that the Council approves the same Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2024/25 which has operated successfully since 2013/14. 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. The same disregards should also apply to Housing Benefit and claims for Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).
· Recommend to the Council to resolve that the Council Tax Base for 2024/25 for the Whole City is 137,295.64 equivalent Band D properties, for Montpelier Square alone 96.96 equivalent Band D properties and for Queen’s Park 3,700.40 equivalent Band D properties.
· Recommend to the Council to resolve that the figures set out in the above paragraph for the Council Tax Base for 2024/25 be used by the Council to make a determination pursuant to the requirements of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
· Determine to implement a 100% Second Home Premium for the 2025/26 financial year, which is the earliest date allowed for under the new legislation.
Reasons for decision:
The taxbase decision is sought in order that the Council complies with the requirements of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
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.
The recommendation to allow the Director of Revenues and Benefits to continue to determine any individual local discount claims will enable assistance to be given to individual Council Taxpayers. This will provide the mechanism for granting the local Council Tax discount for Care Leavers, flood victims and other vulnerable Council Taxpayers in line with the Council’s Council Tax Ethical Recovery procedure.
The Council’s proposed 100% 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.
The recommendation to continue the Long-Term Empty Property Premium at the maximum allowed for within current legislation aligns with the Council’s Fairer Westminster agenda and the aim to bring empty properties back in to use.
The recommendation to determine to implement a 100% Second Home premium for the 2025/26 financial year will deliver additional income for the council, without affecting vulnerable residents.
Report author: Martin Hinckley
Publication date: 11/12/2023
Date of decision: 11/12/2023
Decided at meeting: 11/12/2023 - Cabinet