Somerset Count CouncilImage source, Daniel Mumby

Image caption,

A new council tax reduction scheme has been approved by Somerset County Council

Council tax will be scrapped for some low-income families in Somerset in 2023.

A tax reduction scheme will come into force from 1 April, when a new Somerset council will replace five existing authorities.

The scheme aims to support people on low incomes, care leavers and foster carers.

“We want to protect families who have got the lowest incomes during this time,” said councillor Liz Leyshon.

The scheme was approved by Somerset County Council and will replace four separate systems operated by the district councils which will cease to exist in April 2023.

A single person with an income below £95 a week, or a couple with two children on a weekly income below £260, will be entitled to a full 100% council tax reduction.

Care leavers up to the age of 25 will continue to be exempt from council tax and a new measure will give foster carers a 50% reduction.

“This is being done at a time when people’s household budgets are being challenged already,” Ms Leyshon said.

Discounts of 75%, 40% and 25% will also apply in a tiered system to households earning up to a maximum of £520 a week (for a couple with two children – the maximum limit is lower for single people and those with one or no children).

Second homes

The council also agreed council tax changes for second homes and empty properties, aimed at bringing empty homes back into use.

From 1 April, there will be no council tax discounts for owners of second homes or empty homes.

Owners will also have to pay extra if their properties lie empty for extended periods of time – for example council tax will double if houses are empty for two years.

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