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Council Tax Benefit

Volume 523: debated on Thursday 17 February 2011

The spending review 2010 announced that Government would localise council tax benefit from 2013-14, and reduce its costs by 10%. The Welfare Reform Bill, published today, took the first step in that direction by taking enabling powers to abolish council tax benefit. Further changes will follow to establish the new system from 2013-14.

I can confirm that the Government remain committed to retaining council tax support for the most vulnerable in society and that they will be taking forward plans for councils to develop local rebate schemes. This reform is part of the decentralisation agenda. It will create stronger incentives for councils to get people back into work and so support the positive work incentives that will be introduced through the Government’s plans on universal credit.

Full consultation on the system of local council tax rebate schemes will be undertaken in due course, led by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Parliament will have the final say on any new regime in England. The Government will discuss the devolved implications with the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.

Combined with other incentives—such as the new homes bonus and our proposals for the local retention of business rates—these changes will give councils a greater stake in the economic future of their local area, so supporting the Government’s wider agenda to enable stronger, balanced economic growth across the country.