More people in Wigan are paying the full council tax bill

Fewer people are claiming reduced council tax in Wigan this year, compared with 2017.

Friday, 31st August 2018, 1:42 pm
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 1:46 pm
Between April and June this year, 27,530 people claimed reduced council tax bills, a drop of two per cent from the same period in 2017

Between April and June last year, 28,122 people were receiving some form of council tax relief, according to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) figures.

However over the same period in 2018, that number had dropped to 27,530 – a two per cent decrease.

Across England there were three per cent fewer claimants overall.

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People can be eligible to pay reduced council tax if they are on a low income, claim benefits or a pensioner.

The amount can vary from a fiver per cent discount, to only paying five per cent of the total bill. The Government sets the rate at which pensioners pay council tax, however individual local authorities decide on working claimants.

In Wigan, the number of pensioners claiming council tax relief dropped by 761 last year, and the number of working age claimants increased by 169.

In 2013, the Government stopped fully funding council tax relief.

The Local Government Association believes this could have affected people on low incomes, and is urging the MHCLG to take back control of the reduction programmes.

“Council tax support schemes are no longer fully-funded by central government, with £1.7bn – nearly half of the original funding – removed between 2013 and 2020,” a spokesman said.

“As a result, more than 573,000 households no longer received council tax support in October 2017 in comparison to October 2013. No-one wants to ask those on the lowest incomes to pay more but many councils have been put in an impossible position.

“Faced with significant cuts to the money they have to look after the elderly and disabled, protect children, repair the roads and collect the bins, many councils have had little choice but to reduce the discount.”