Council Tax Support Scheme to continue supporting thousands of Harlow residents

News / Wed 17th Jan 2024 at 06:42am

OVER 2,000 Harlow pensioners on the lowest incomes and over 4,000 working age households are set to receive financial support from Harlow Council so that they continue to pay zero or reduced Council Tax. 

For the 11th year in a row the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for Harlow is set to remain unchanged from 1 April 2024. The scheme, which provides financial support totalling over £6.5m, funds up to 76% of the overall Council Tax bill for those of working age and up to 100% for those of pensionable age eligible for support. 

Currently there are 2,140 pension age households and 4,076 working age households receiving support with their Council Tax bills. Harlow Council has frozen its share of the Council Tax bill since 2022.

Last night (15 January) Cabinet approved a report which recommends to the next Full Council meeting on 22 February that the scheme remains unchanged with regards to the support it gives to eligible households. 

At the same meeting Cabinet also agreed to recommend a new Council Tax premium of 100% from 1 April 2024 for homes that have been empty for one year or more. This is to encourage homeowners to bring long-term unoccupied and substantially unfurnished homes back into use. It is estimated that there are around 108 private homes in Harlow that will be affected by this change as from 1 April 2024.

A further new premium of 100% for second homes is also set to be introduced from 1 April 2025. This council tax premium will apply to properties which are not someone’s sole or main residence but are substantially furnished. 

There are some unoccupied homes that would not be subject to a Council Tax premium where an exemption applies.

Councillor James Leppard, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance and Governance, said:

“I am pleased that we are set to continue offering support with Council Tax bills for those households on the lowest incomes in our town. This is a scheme which has been running for 11 years offering the same level of support to those households most in need. With various household bills continuing to rise I know that this support from the council is vital.

“We are also set to charge Council Tax premiums on empty private homes in the town. This will generate additional revenue to be shared between Essex County Council, Essex Police, the Fire Service, and us, but more importantly it will encourage homeowners to bring back into use their empty homes so we can increase housing stock across the town. There are 108 empty private homes in the town which could be providing a family with a home. 

“Although we don’t have a great number of second homes in the town compared to tourist areas, a Council Tax premium is also set to be introduced in Harlow next year on any home which is not someone’s sole home.” 

Any household which is struggling to pay their council tax should contact the council. Further information and support can be found on the council’s website www.harlow.gov.uk/council-tax

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3 Comments for Council Tax Support Scheme to continue supporting thousands of Harlow residents:

2024-01-17 09:05:29

So 6000 plus households in Harlow cannot pay, how many household are there in Harlow liable for council tax?

2024-01-17 13:57:28

So we are paying/coverung the tax for those that canna pay! Great! Like Adam says. How many of us working hard n paying

Nicholas Taylor
2024-01-18 16:42:08

Adam and Nick, there are between 35k and 40k homes in Harlow. The residents of the 6000 homes are on such a low income they will be entitled to the Council Tax support scheme. Nothing different from the rest of the country but shows just how many people in Harlow are on low income. Many of these will of course be working and still having to pay some Council Tax. The changes mentioned here are a very good step in getting vacant homes occupied. Having walked around many areas I suspect there are far more homes that have been vacant for months

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