Toggle menu

Have your say on the Council Tax Reduction scheme for Eastbourne

Eastbourne Borough Council is considering changing its Council Tax Reduction scheme to provide more support for people on a low income. We are inviting feedback on the proposals from Monday 8 July to Monday 30 September 2024 at 5pm.

Since April 2013, local authorities have been required to have a local scheme to help working age residents on a low income to pay their Council Tax. This is called the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme. It works by reducing the amount of Council Tax the person must pay.

The rules of the scheme for people of pension age are set by central government.

Eastbourne Borough Council is considering making the following changes to the scheme for people of working age in Eastbourne:

  1. Increasing the maximum reduction to 100%.
  2. Removing the minimum awards so a claimant can qualify for, and be awarded, less than £5 per week.
  3. Basing a self-employed claimant's income on their actual earnings.
     

The current Council Tax Reduction scheme for people of working age

The current scheme (2024/25), contains three elements that we are considering changing. 

  1. That the maximum reduction a working age claimant can get is 80% of their Council Tax liability.
  2. That if a claimant qualifies for less than £5 per week, they do not receive any reduction. This is known as the £5 minimum award.
  3. That certain self-employed claimant's earnings are based on the hourly rate of the national living wage of £11.44 X 35. 
     

Cost of the current scheme

The current cost of the schemes, in terms of Council Tax forgone, and the number of households receiving a reduction at 1 April 2024 is set out below:

Age

Number of households

Cost

Working age

3,750

 £4,435,459.72

Pension age

3,059

 £4,291,301.36

Totals 

6,809

 £8,726,761.08

 

The cost of the scheme is shared between the organisations that receive a proportion of council tax, called 'preceptors'.

The scheme is shared between Eastbourne Borough Council, East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police, and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service in proportion to their share of Council Tax receipts.

The table below shows these costs:

Preceptors

Share of Council Tax

Cost

Eastbourne Borough Council

 12%

 £648,000

East Sussex County Council

 73%

 £3,942,000

Sussex Police

 10%

 £540,000

East Sussex Fire & Rescue 

 5%

 £270,000

Totals 

 100%

 £5,400,000

 

The proposals for 2025/26 which we are consulting over

The council is considering:

  1. Increasing the maximum reduction to 100%.
  2. Removing the minimum awards so a claimant can qualify for, and be awarded, less than £5 per week.
  3. Basing a self-employed claimant's income on their actual earnings.

If these changes are adopted, they will increase the cost of the working age scheme as set out in the tables below (based on 2023/24 Council Tax charges and current caseload levels).

It should be noted that changes in the numbers of working age and pension age claimants will impact on the overall cost of the schemes. 

Changes proposed

Cost 

100% maximum reduction

 £955,699

No minimum award

 £3,000

Removing the Minimum Income Floor

 £150,000

All changes

 £1,108,699

 

What this would mean for the council and other preceptors

Changes

ESCC

EBC

Police

Fire and Rescue

 

 100% maximum reduction

 £668,103.28

 £114,683.88

 £95569.90

 £47784.95

 

 No minimum award

 £2160

 £360

 £300

 £150

 

 Removing the Minimum Income Floor

 £108,000

 £18,000

 £15,000

 £7,500

 

 All changes

 £778,263.28

 £133,043.88

 £110,869.90

 £55,434.95

 

 

Impact on Eastbourne Borough Council's finances

If the changes are adopted it will result in a reduction in the Council Tax due to the council of £133,043.88.

To offset this potential loss of income the council would need to look for areas for savings and income generation across its services. 
 

Impact on Council Tax Collection rate

If the minimum award is increased from 80% to 100% the collection rate would be expected to increase.

By increasing the level of Council Tax reduction it will reduce the cost and time associated with collecting small balances. This would enable the additional resource currently funded by the main preceptors to focus on activity to sustain and grow the Tax Base in the future.

For example, this could be by extending the remit to undertake single person discount reviews for working age claimants in receipt of Council Tax reduction.
 

Scheme rules and examples of how the changes would affect residents

A draft of the scheme rules including the changes are available to download below.

We have also given examples of how the proposed changes would affect various household types.  These examples are based on a Band C council Tax charge of £41.19 per week (£2147.96 per year).

Eastbourne Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2025-26 DRAFT (PDF) [1MB]

Single Claimant award below £5 per week entitlement (PDF) [142KB]

Single Claimant on Universal Credit or Income Support (PDF) [140KB]

Single Claimant with earnings (PDF) [151KB]

Couple on Universal Credit or Income Support (PDF) [138KB]

Couple 1 child with earnings (PDF) [139KB]

Lone Parent with earnings (PDF) [140KB]

Single Claimant Self Employed No Minimum Income Floor (PDF) [144KB]

Have your say

We are inviting feedback on the changes we are proposing, via an online survey:

Take the survey

You can also submit comments by email to CustomerFirst@lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk or in writing to CTR Consultation, Eastbourne Borough Council, Town Hall, Grove Rd, Eastbourne BN21 4UG

Consultation closing date

The consultation will run from Monday 8 July to Monday 30 September 2024 at 5pm.

Information in different languages and formats

Information on all of our web pages can be translated into different languages or an audio file. Select the headphones icon to get started.

Alternatively, to request the consultation information and survey in a different language or format, please email CustomerFirst@lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk