Discretionary Council Tax Exceptional Hardship Fund (CTEHF) 2023-2024
The CTEHF has been set up for the current financial year 2023-2024 to provide assistance to council taxpayers who are facing ‘exceptional hardship’ to help reduce their council tax liability.
The fund has been created to provide further assistance where an applicant (whether pension or working age):-
- is in receipt of council tax support (CTS) but the level of support being paid by the councils does not meet their full council tax liability, or
- is experiencing short-term extreme financial hardship, due to unforeseen factors outside of their control resulting from the cost-of-living crisis.
In all cases it will be expected that CTS is applied for and, where an applicant has failed to qualify, then evidence of their exceptional circumstances, including full details of their income/expenditure must be supplied for consideration.
This is a discretionary scheme, and each application will be considered on its own merits. Awards can only be made based on eligibility and having regard to the level of funding available. If available funds have been exhausted from the CTEHF no further awards will be made.
We will consider the following factors:-
- there must be evidence of financial hardship or personal circumstances that justify a reduction in council tax liability
- the applicant’s income and expenditure including unusual and/or avoidable expenditure
- whether there are exceptional circumstances that contribute to the financial hardship
- the applicant must demonstrate that all reasonable steps have been taken or will be taken to resolve the situation
- entitlement to all other eligible discounts/reliefs/income/welfare benefits have been explored and are being claimed
- the amount outstanding must not be the result of wilful refusal to pay or culpable neglect
- the applicant does not have access to other assets that could be used towards their council tax liability
- whether the situation can be resolved by some other legitimate means
- whether an award will assist the applicant towards a position where they can pay their council tax within a reasonable time frame without further recourse to this discount
- any social or health issues currently being faced by the resident and/or their immediate family
- the effect the situation is having on vulnerable members of the resident’s family (eg the elderly, the young, the infirm etc.)
- other evidence in support of an application (such as information from doctors and/or social workers)
- whether the applicant has asked for advice already, eg from Citizens’ Advice
- the size and banding of the current accommodation
- the possibility of moving to a smaller and lower banded property
- the lifestyle choices of the applicant and their household
- whether there is a threat of court action in relation to council tax arrears.
The above list is not exhaustive and other relevant factors and special circumstances may be considered.
Any award of CTEHF will be made directly onto the applicant’s council tax account thereby reducing the amount of council tax payable.
Changes in circumstances
If an award of CTEHF is granted the successful applicant is required to:-
- Tell the councils of any changes in circumstances, within 21 days that may be relevant to their ongoing claim, and
- Provide the councils with such other information as it may require in connection with their claim.
A misrepresentation or failure to report changes to the councils will result in cancellation of an award from the council tax account and action to recover any increase in council tax outstanding.
How to apply
You need to complete an application form which includes a financial statement of all income and expenditure.
You can download the application form here.
Applications can also be made via an advice organisation such as the Citizens Advice. Please see the guidance notes for further details on the application process (PDF).
You must set out the reasons for applying, including explaining any special circumstances or exceptional hardship being experienced.
Supporting evidence should be provided and further evidence may be requested by the council.