Toggle menu

Gateshead Council Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2024/25

Part 1 - Introduction

This scheme may be cited as the Gateshead Council Local Tax Reduction Scheme and relates to the financial year beginning 1st April 2024 and unless revised or replaced, to each subsequent year beginning on 1st April

Paragraph 33 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 abolished Council Tax Benefit from 1st April 2013, and Schedule 4 to the Local Government Finance Bill 2012 inserts Schedule 1A into the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This schedule makes provision for local authorities to devise their own schemes for local Council Tax reductions, to assist people on low incomes in paying their Council Tax. This document sets out the Gateshead Local Council Tax Support scheme for the financial year commencing 1st April 2024.

The Secretary of State in exercise of the powers conferred by section 113(2) of, and paragraph 2 of Schedule 1A to the Local Government Finance Act 1992, has prescribed some mandatory features which must be incorporated into Gateshead's local scheme and these are contained within the Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Prescribed Scheme) (England) Regulations 2013, as amended by SI 3181 of 2013, SI 3312 of 2014, SI643 of 2015, SI 2041 of 2015, SI 1262 of 2016, SI 204 of 2017, SI 1305 of 2017, SI 1346 of 2018, SI 23 of 2020, SI 29 of 2021, SI 25 of 2022, SI 16 of 2023 and SI 29 of 2024. This scheme includes those matters set out in the prescribed regulations.

It is a legislative requirement that those of Pension Age continue to receive support of up to 100% of their Council Tax bill, depending on their income. The legislation sets out the definition of pensioner for the purposes of the scheme. Those not defined as pensioners are by default defined as working age. The features set out in this scheme which relate to persons of working age, and which are not included in the prescribed regulations, have been determined by Gateshead Council. Any omission from this document in relation to the Gateshead Local Council Tax Support Scheme or items not specifically mentioned will not invalidate the scheme or the individual reduction awarded.

Gateshead Council's scheme is based upon a means test, taking into account the needs and income of the applicant in order to establish a figure which will then be applied as a discount.

Calculation amounts

The figures used in calculating the level of reduction under this scheme for those of working age will be set by Gateshead Council. This includes figures relating to applicable amounts, premia, non-dependant deductions and, where state benefits are used in the calculation, any changes to these as made by the Secretary of State. Additionally, it includes any changes to tax and national insurance rates, and any rates used in the calculation of self-employed earnings. The council can apply a percentage to state benefits to reflect changes made by the Secretary of State. Where the council has determined a figure to be used in the calculation, the council may amend or alter these figures annually, or when deemed appropriate. The scheme also allows for any clerical errors or typing errors to be corrected during its life.

For the year commencing 1st April 2024, Gateshead Council has determined that those of working age can receive support to the value of a maximum of 91.5% of their Council Tax bill, depending on their income.

Principles of the scheme

Gateshead's scheme is based on eight principles:

  1. Protection will be given to certain groups - pensioners will be able to receive maximum help of up to 100% of their bill, depending on their circumstances and so are protected from any increase in the amount they pay because of the introduction of the scheme.
  2. The scheme should encourage people to work - when working out entitlement to Local Council Tax Support part of a person's earnings will be ignored. For those of working age £10 of a single person's earnings and £15 of a couple's earnings will be ignored. For those of pension age, £5 of a single 3 Gateshead Council Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2024/25 person's earnings and £10 of a couple's earnings will be ignored. For a lone parent, £25 of any earnings will be ignored.
  3. Everyone in the household should contribute - any support payable may be reduced where another adult lives in the household who is not the claimant's partner. The amount of reduction will depend on the gross income of the other adult. For those of working age, no reduction will be made unless the Council Tax payer is the person who qualifies for assistance.
  4. Benefit should not be paid to those with relatively large capital or savings - any capital below £6000 will be ignored for working age people and below £10,000 for those of pension age. Anyone with capital above £16,000 will not get help under the scheme unless they get Guarantee Pension Credit. An adjustment will be made to the level of support if a person has capital between £6,000/£10,000 and £16,000.
  5. War pensions will be ignored in working out the level of support
  6. There will be a minimum level of support - for those of working age, if the level of support would be less than £1 a week, no reduction will be made to the Council Tax bill.
  7. Child Benefit will be ignored in working out the level of support
  8. There will be the ability to award a discretionary reduction if the council considers someone needs extra support in exceptional circumstances

Changes to the scheme

Gateshead Council may make changes to this scheme at any time where the government makes welfare and benefits changes, or legislative changes that could have an impact on the scheme, and that affect the income that people have. The aim would be to ensure that those affected by government changes that have an impact on the scheme, do not see the amount of Council Tax Support increase or decrease significantly because of this. Changes would be made when there is evidence of a negative impact on Council Tax Support claimants, when the sustainability of the scheme is put at risk, when the principles underlying the scheme are affected, to keep the scheme in line with changes to other benefits and to remove complexities for claimants.

It should be noted that in the current year, the prescribed requirement regulations reflected a reduction in personal allowances for those who reach pension age on or after 1st April 2024. This is to reflect the government's removal of the additional amount formerly added to these applicable amounts, to offset savings credit, which is no longer available.

In 2020/2021, the prescribed regulations contained an uplift of £20 to the additional earnings disregard which applies to some claimants (the disregard was increased from £17.10 to £37.10), which was introduced year in response to Covid-19. Although this has been removed in the prescribed regulations, the council has opted to keep the additional £20.

General provisions

The council delegates the power to make and bring effect to the scheme to the Chief Financial Officer, and to officers duly authorised by him to do so in accordance with the council's constitution, and also to make changes to the scheme to reflect government and legislative changes and whatever other changes the Chief Financial Officer may deem appropriate. The Council may also revise or replace the scheme annually in addition to making changes as set out in the "Changes to the scheme" paragraph.


The council will actively make checks for the prevention and detection of fraud.