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Council Tax Reduction (CTR) Scheme

You can apply for Council Tax Reduction whether you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.

If you're working age

If you are of working age and do not fall into a protected category, you may be eligible if your capital and savings are less than £6000

The maximum amount of help we can provide is limited and you will have to pay at least 30 per cent of your normal Council Tax. The amount of support is also capped at the amount which would apply to a property in Council Tax Band C. There are also differences in the way entitlement is means-tested.

We cannot award Council Tax Reduction if the calculated entitlement is less than £10 per week.

If you're pension age or in a protected category

If you are pension age or in a protected category, you can apply if your capital and savings are less than £16,000.

The level of entitlement we can award will still be means-tested, but will not be subject to local features of the working age scheme.

You can find out more about the scheme and eligibility below. 

If you need advice, contact us using our online form or call us on 01635 519258.

You can find out about other Council Tax discounts and exemptions here.


Making a claim

To make a claim, please see our 'Claim Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction' page.


Keep us informed

If you are already receiving Council Tax Reduction and your circumstances have changed, please report the change(s) using our Icon for doc change of circumstances form [792KB] .

This may affect how much Council Tax you have to pay. If it does, we'll send you a revised Council Tax bill showing any changes.


Exceptional Hardship Fund

If you have applied for Council Tax Reduction but you believe that you (or a member of your family) will suffer exceptional hardship if you do not receive further assistance, you can apply for the Exceptional Hardship Fund. Only short term funding is available where hardship arises as a direct consequence of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

To apply, please complete a Icon for doc Council Tax Reduction Scheme Exceptional Hardship Claim [65KB]  and return it to the Benefits Team - to secure your personal information, please email us using the same process as a claim for Council Tax Reduction.


Disagreements and appeals

If you disagree with our decision regarding your entitlement to Council Tax Reduction you can ask us to look at it again.

Find out more on our Appeal a Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction decision page.


About the scheme

On 1 April 2013, the Government stopped the national Council Tax Benefit scheme and asked councils to develop their own schemes for Council Tax Reduction (CTR).

Since then we have continued to use the same allowances and premiums for calculating Council Tax Reduction as the amounts which are supplied by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for assessing Housing Benefit. This means that CTR assessments are uprated each financial year.

Due to changes in funding, we needed to make some difficult decisions about who can continue to get financial support, and how much assistance can be provided. The following features have been part of the CTR scheme for West Berkshire since 1 April 2017 and will continue in 2024/25.


Key features of the 2024/25 scheme

Following consultation with customers, the council introduced a number of changes to its CTR scheme which are designed to minimise cuts to other services and the need to use financial reserves.

These amendments do not apply to pension age claimants or working age claimants who fall within a protected group.

1. Reduce the capital threshold for working age claims from £16,000 to £6,000

Where the sum of capital held by the claimant and/or their partner is more than £6,000, either on 1 April 2024 or on the date of a new claim for CTR, there will be no entitlement to CTR for the entire remainder of the billing year.

If capital has reduced from a sum above £6,000 before the 1 April 2024, or before making a new claim for CTR, you will be asked to provide evidence and information to show that expenditure was necessary at the time it was incurred.

This new capital threshold will not apply to a working age claim for any period where the claimant or partner are in receipt of Income based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, or Income Based Employment and Support Allowance.

We will assess Council Tax Reduction, using the records we hold relating to your capital.

If you need to update us with the current amount of capital held by you and your partner (if applicable), please notify us in writing as soon as possible. You will also be required to provide evidence.

Although we understand that capital balances can fluctuate, working age claimants need to report any significant changes in your capital balance, and particularly if your capital is more than £6,000 at any stage. Quickly reporting changes reduces the risk of large increases in Council Tax instalments later in the financial year.

2. The amount of reduction is restricted to the amount for a Band C property

Claimants living in properties in Council Tax bands D to H will (if entitled) receive reduction, but this will be limited to the amount the household would have been awarded if living in a Council Tax band C property within the same parish.

3. A minimum contribution of 30 per cent is payable by working age claimants

The maximum Council Tax Reduction for which a working age claimant will qualify, will be 70 per cent of their liability (after deductions have been taken for any other discounts or reductions).

Council Tax Reduction will therefore only be deducted from 70 per cent of a working age customer's liability.

4. A taper of 30 per cent is used in the means-test calculation

If a claimant and/or their partner is not receiving Income based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, or Income Based Employment and Support Allowance, the amount they are asked to contribute towards Council Tax from their income is calculated by comparing their income with their 'applicable amount'. An applicable amount is the minimum weekly income set by Central Government which a household sharing the same circumstances is considered to require to live on.

A claimant will be required to contribute 30 per cent of the difference between their applicable amount and the amount of their weekly income (that which is not disregarded for benefit purposes) towards their Council Tax.

5. Reduction is only awarded where an entitlement of £10 per week or more is assessed

The minimum weekly CTR award is £10 per week. No CTR will be awarded where calculated entitlement is below £10 per week.

6. Cease to allow Second Adult Rebate

Second Adult Rebate could be awarded where a second adult, who is not a partner, lives within a household.

Second adult rebate is no longer available to working age claimants. CTR can only be awarded where the income and circumstances of a claimant and partner (if applicable) qualify for an entitlement.

If you are entitled to second adult rebate, it means the amount of Council Tax you have to pay is reduced by a certain amount. The amount of the reduction will depend on the income of the adult living with you and will be between 7.5 per cent and 25 per cent of the Council Tax bill.

For full details about the scheme, please read our Icon for pdf Council Tax Reduction Scheme document [2MB] .

A Icon for pdf summary of the scheme [276KB] with useful information about the other forms of support available from the Council is also available.


Protection from change

Pension age and vulnerable persons (those in a 'protected category') will not be subject to the above changes and will continue to have Council Tax Reduction deducted from their full liability for Council Tax.

Depending upon their income, pension age and vulnerable customers will continue to be potentially entitled to full Council Tax Reduction, which may leave no Council Tax to pay in a number of instances.

Pension age

The government set the scheme for pension-age applicants, who will not be directly affected by changes to the local scheme. For Council Tax Reduction, we treat you as being of pension age if you and/or your partner are old enough to receive Pension Credit and neither of you are in receipt of a working age benefits such as Universal Credit, Jobseekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.

You can check your state pension age on the GOV.UK website.

Vulnerable persons

A vulnerable person is defined within West Berkshire's Council Tax Reduction Scheme as a claimant, partner, child or young person receiving a disability related benefit or war pension.

If you receive any of the following types of income, you are protected from the variations within the local scheme explained above:

  • Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • a War Pension
  • a disability element of Working Tax Credit
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit at the long term rate or, if they are terminally ill, the short term higher rate
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income or contribution based)
  • a 'limited capability for work' component within an award of Universal Credit 
  • responsible for a child or young person who lives with you and receives Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment

The council has recognised that vulnerable people are less able to contribute and has therefore provided protection to customers identified as suffering from a defined level of disability. Regrettably, it is inevitable that any definition of disability will involve some customers falling just outside the boundaries of the protection we are able to provide.

What is 'capital'?

Capital includes (but is not limited to) anything from the following list held by you and/or your partner:

  • Bank, Building Society and Post Office accounts
  • Premium Bonds
  • National Savings Certificates
  • shares
  • TESSAs
  • ISAs
  • Personal Equity Plans
  • trust funds
  • property other than your main home

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