A consultation on council tax support for the new unitary Somerset Council is launched today (25 July 2022). This is the first major policy consultation for the new council and it proposes that the lowest income households across Somerset get 100% council tax relief.
Somerset’s four district councils currently offer varying levels of council tax support. Maximum relief is set at 80% to 85% in most parts of the county, only in South Somerset is 100% relief available. The proposed changes would harmonise support for working-age people on low incomes across the county and come into effect on 1 April 2023, with the creation of the new Council.
Councillor Bill Revans, Leader of Somerset County Council, said:
“Our new unitary council is a chance to make Somerset fairer for everyone. These proposals would get more help to the people who need it most, no matter where they live in the County.
“As many as 35,000 households in Somerset benefit from a reduction in their council tax, so a single, simplified support scheme can be cheaper to run as well as fairer. Our proposals are flexible too, so that people won’t be unfairly penalised if their income fluctuates from month to month.
“I would welcome views from residents and groups working in our communities.”
The consultation runs until 19 September and proposes a simplified approach that will be easier to administer. Under the proposals, a single person with an income below £95 per week, or a couple with two children on a weekly income below £260, would be entitled to the full 100% council tax relief. However, some families with an income below £500 a week could be eligible for some support.
Notes to editors
1/ The consultation runs until open until 19 September and is available on the opens in a new windowNew Somerset Council website.
2/ Background papers can be found on the opens in a new windowSomerset County Council website
3/ Paper versions of the consultation will be available from libraries.
4/ The scheme for pension age applicants is set by Government and will continue unchanged.