Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme

The Government abolished the national Council Tax Benefit scheme from 1 April 2013 and allowed local councils to develop their own local replacement schemes for working age residents.

Council Tax reduction for pensioners is protected and the provision is broadly similar to the former Council Tax Benefit scheme.

Council tax reduction

Council tax reduction helps people on low income with their council tax charge. There are two types of council tax reduction:

  • main council tax reduction
  • alternative maximum council tax reduction

The amount of main council tax reduction awarded varies according to the income, savings and personal circumstances of the claimant and anyone else living in their household. The amount of alternative maximum council tax reduction ignores the claimant’s income and savings and is based upon the income of other people (but not the partner) living in the claimant’s household.

Changes to council tax reduction for working age residents from April 2017

From April 2013 to March 2017 we maintained a scheme for working age residents broadly similar to Council Tax Benefit. However, as the funding available from the Government has reduced every year it was decided to change the scheme from April 2017.

We wanted to ensure its financially vulnerable residents were protected the new scheme retains many of the features of the previous scheme:

  • It is based on 100% of council tax liability;
  • Entitlement is assessed on the applicant’s income and circumstances;
  • Deductions are applied for non dependants (adults other than the applicant/partner who live in the household).

However following a full public consultation the following changes were made to the scheme:

  • The maximum amount of capital/savings allowed is £6,000.
  • The amount of non dependant deduction is based on the non dependants total income;
  • A minimum earnings floor equal to 35 hours at the national minimum wage is applied to applicants of residents who have been self-employed for over 1 year.
  • Entitlement can be backdated for up to 52 weeks
  • Entitlement will only normally be awarded during a period the resident is abroad if the absence is not expected to exceed 4 weeks.  

How to claim

To make a new claim for council tax reduction you need to complete a Tower Hamlets online claim form. The form must include full details of the claimant's family, household composition, income and savings. We must see original evidence to support this.

After a claim has been made and put into payment it is not normally necessary to complete another full form unless there is a break in your entitlement.  

If you don't have internet access, you can visit an Idea Store to use the internet free of charge.

How to contact the Benefits service

Tel 020 7364 5000
Email: benefits@towerhamlets.gov.uk