How can I afford my new council tax bill?


A local expert from Citizen’s Advice provides timely tips on consumer issues.

Q: ‘I have just received my new council tax bill and it’s gone up again. I’m working full time and claiming universal credit to top up my rent, but I’m a single parent now and, with everything else increasing, I am not sure I am going to be able to pay it each month. What can I do?’

A: First, you need to check if you can get a council tax discount. If you are the only adult in your property, you will be entitled to a 25 per cent discount. Moreover, some adults aren’t included for council tax purposes – this includes some students and young people, some people who are temporarily away from home, some people with severe disabilities and some carers.
If you are on a low income, you might also be eligible for Council Tax Support. This is a means-tested benefit, so your income and savings have to be below a certain level to get help. Dorset Council will compare your finances (income and capital) with how much the government says that you and your family need to live on.
Dorset Council is going to implement a new Council Tax Reduction scheme from 1 April 2024.
This scheme aims to make it easier for residents to manage, and should work better with the Universal Credit system by taking away the need for constant changes. It also increases the current maximum amount that can be claimed from 90 per cent up to 100 per cent for those who are eligible.
However, the reductions will be restricted to a council tax band E level – any applicants who live in a band F, G or H property will have their entitlement calculated at a band E level.
If you think you might be eligible for a discount or for support, you can either do an online benefit check, for example or ask your local Citizens Advice to help you find out.

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