Council tax support scheme to be extended for residents on low incomes

Residents on the lowest incomes will be protected from increased council tax bills in April.

At their meeting tonight (Wednesday 16 November), the Council agreed to extend the borough’s council tax support scheme for the financial year 2023/24.

Since council tax benefit was abolished in 2013, the council has had to formally consult and agree to uprate the council tax support scheme each year, to continue with similar arrangements that were in place a decade ago, preventing residents on the lowest incomes from facing an increased council tax bill.

Based on levels of council tax support last month, it is estimated that £13.5 million will be granted in council tax support for 2023/24, assuming a 2% increase in council tax from April 2023. This figure includes the Greater London Authority’s share of the scheme, which is £3million. The cost for Merton Council is estimated to be £10.5 million.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, Councillor Billy Christie, said: “Merton was one of the first boroughs to declare a cost of living emergency and we want to prevent our poorest residents from facing increased council tax bills in April, on top of the soaring energy bills and rising food prices. We want to see the council tax support scheme extended into the next financial year, so that residents on the lowest incomes are not worse off as a result of higher council tax bills.

“Many residents are already struggling with the cost of living and the situation is set to get worse during the coming months. The council is committed to doing all it can to support residents through these tough times, including through the new council tax support scheme.”