Council Tax Reduction in Scotland, 2020-21
Council Tax Reduction (CTR) awarded by age, household structure, income sources and employment status, deprivation index, and Council Tax band in the financial year from April 2020 to March 2021. It also makes references to the previously published March 2020 statistics for comparative purposes.
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2. Number of CTR Recipients
CTR data is reported monthly and this section illustrates the initial impact of Covid-19 in 2020-21. The number of CTR recipients for each month from March 2020 to March 2021 is shown in Chart 2. The total number of CTR recipients in Scotland increased from 469,370 recipients in March 2020 to 496,580 in March 2021, an increase of 6 per cent during this period. However, the largest increase in CTR recipients was observed in April and May 2020, as the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic began to be felt, with a peak of 501,680 CTR recipients in August 2020. The number of recipients observed this year is still lower than when the scheme began, and in March 2021 was at similar levels to that observed in September 2016 (495,660).
The impact of Covid-19 caused a rise in CTR recipients in Scotland in contrast to the gradual decreasing trend observed previously. The majority of the increase was recorded in April 2020 as shown in chart 3, when the total number of CTR recipients in Scotland increased sharply from March 2020 by 4.4 per cent. There were further smaller monthly increases between May 2020 and August 2020.
Since September 2020 the total number of CTR recipients has decreased gradually month on month, but the changes have all been small, relative to the size of the total number of CTR recipients. This suggests that the number of CTR recipients was levelling off after the initial increases observed at the beginning of the pandemic. However, in the last 2 months of the financial year there were minor increases (observed in February and March 2021).
Table 2 shows most local authorities recorded an increase in CTR recipients between March 2020 and March 2021 (30 out of 32 local authorities), with the largest percentage increase seen in Aberdeen City (16.3 per cent) over this period. Only West Dunbartonshire (-1.6 per cent) and Inverclyde (-0.4 per cent) recorded a decrease during this period. Due to differences in the number of chargeable dwellings and characteristics of local authorities, there have been fluctuations and different volumes of CTR recipient movements across local authorities during the financial year which can be seen in chart 4.
Details of CTR recipients and income forgone since the inception of CTR are available in the Recipients and Income Forgone tables published monthly.
|Mar-20||Apr-20||May-20||Jun-20||Jul-20||Aug-20||Sep-20||Oct-20||Nov-20||Dec-20||Jan-21||Feb-21||Mar-21||% Change (Mar 20-Mar 21)|
|Argyll and Bute||6,580||7,100||7,170||7,130||7,220||7,190||7,130||7,100||7,090||7,110||7,110||7,020||7,050||7.1%|
|City of Edinburgh||32,740||34,010||35,530||36,310||35,990||36,230||36,460||36,710||36,340||36,520||35,870||36,050||35,750||9.2%|
|Dumfries and Galloway||13,280||14,230||14,220||14,240||14,300||14,160||14,180||14,190||14,210||14,190||13,900||13,880||13,830||4.1%|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||2,100||2,160||2,170||2,160||2,150||2,150||2,140||2,120||2,120||2,110||2,120||2,120||2,110||0.5%|
|Perth and Kinross||8,090||8,430||8,370||8,340||8,400||8,540||8,660||8,670||8,700||8,910||8,950||9,070||9,130||12.9%|
1 Recipients are as at monthly count date. See Methodology Notes, Section 2 for more details. Available at https://www.gov.scot/publications/council-tax-reduction/
2 Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Components may not sum to total due to rounding. Percentage change are based on unrounded figures.
Chart 5 shows the number of CTR recipients by local authority as a proportion of the Scottish CTR population for March 2021 in descending order. It can be seen that Glasgow City accounted for the highest proportion, with almost one-fifth of all CTR recipients in Scotland which is more than twice the number of CTR recipients in North Lanarkshire (the next highest ranking authority).
The five local authorities with the highest numbers of CTR recipients accounted for almost half (46 per cent) of the total number of CTR recipients for Scotland in March 2021, the same as in March 2020. Their order has not changed since March 2020. This can be attributed to the size of the local authorities where those with larger populations may be expected to have a higher number of CTR claimants and therefore recipients. These five local authorities are:
- Glasgow City accounting for 18 per cent (91,220 CTR recipients);
- North Lanarkshire accounting for 8 per cent (37,260 CTR recipients);
- City of Edinburgh accounting for 7 per cent (35,750 CTR recipients);
- South Lanarkshire accounting for 7 per cent (32,300 CTR recipients); and
- Fife accounting for 6 per cent (31,850 CTR recipients).
In contrast, the three island authorities accounted for just 1 per cent when combined together, with only 0.4 per cent in Na h-Eileanan Siar (2,110 CTR recipients), 0.3 per cent in Orkney Islands (1,410 CTR recipients) and with the Shetland Islands accounting for 0.2 per cent, the least (1,190 CTR recipients). Similarly, the order and proportion of these island authorities have not changed since March 2020.
2.1 CTR recipients over time
From the introduction of the CTR scheme in April 2013 to March 2020, the number of households receiving CTR in Scotland has gradually decreased from 552,380 in April 2013 to 496,580 in March 2021. However there were large rises in caseload in 2020 due to the economic impact of Covid-19 (as shown in Chart 1 on page 1). The number of CTR recipients is now only 10 per cent (55,800 recipients) lower in March 2021 than it was when the scheme began.
Most local authorities in Scotland have seen a decrease in the number of CTR recipients since the scheme was introduced in April 2013. Chart 6 shows the percentage change between April 2013 and March 2021 for all local authorities in Scotland.
The largest percentage decreases in the number of CTR recipients were in Na h-Eileanan Siar (-26 per cent), West Dunbartonshire (-22 per cent) followed by Midlothian (-20 per cent). Whilst Na h-Eileanan Siar has a large percentage decrease, this represents a relatively small number of CTR recipients. The three local authorities that decreased the least between April 2013 and March 2020 have now recorded increases in CTR recipient numbers between the beginning of the CTR scheme and March 2021. These local authorities are Aberdeenshire (6 per cent), Aberdeen City (5 per cent) and Orkney Islands (4 per cent) as shown in chart 6 above.
2.2 CTR recipients by passported status
In March 2021, passported CTR recipients accounted for 46 per cent of all CTR recipients. This is part of a downward trend from 52 per cent in March 2020, 58 per cent in March 2019 and 63 per cent in March 2018. UC does not passport claimants to 100 per cent CTR so as the number of people on UC rises, the number of non-passported cases is expected to increase. As seen from chart 7, the most common passporting benefits are Employment and Support Allowance (Income related) and Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit) which made up 40 per cent of all CTR recipients in March 2021 compared to 45 per cent in March 2020. The majority (87 per cent) of non-passported CTR recipients in March 2021 were not in employment, up from 83 per cent in March 2020 and 77 per cent in March 2019.
With the increase in UC claimants during the pandemic there has been a change in the balance of passported and non-passported CTR recipients. As can be seen in chart 8, there has been a gradual decrease of passported CTR recipients (-7 per cent) compared to a gradual increase in non-passported CTR recipients (20 per cent) between March 2020 and March 2021. In April 2020 there was an initial sharp rise of 9 per cent of non-passported CTR recipients resulting in passported and non-passported CTR recipients each accounting for roughly 50 per cent of the CTR caseload. Since then, non-passported CTR recipients have accounted for more than passported CTR recipients, most likely accelerated by an increased number of UC claimants as a result of the initial economic impact of Covid-19.
As can be seen in chart 9 below, the proportion of each passported benefit as a percentage of all CTR recipients between March 2020 and March 2021 has decreased. For non-passported CTR recipients, there has also been a decrease in the proportion of those employed as a percentage of all CTR recipients but for those not in employment, they now account for 47 per cent of all CTR recipients in March 2021, up from 39 per cent in March 2020.
The number of CTR recipients by passported status and local authority in March 2021 is available in the supplementary tables. Some key variations across local authorities are:
- Na h-Eileanan Siar and Glasgow City still had the highest proportion of passported CTR recipients (58 per cent and 53 per cent respectively) compared to March 2020.
- East Lothian still had the lowest proportion of passported CTR recipients at 37 per cent in March 2021 compared to 41 per cent in March 2020. East Lothian was also the first local authority in Scotland to have UC rolled out. A similar proportion applies in Aberdeenshire (38 per cent), Clackmannanshire (39 per cent) and Highland (40 per cent) – with the latter also subject to an early roll out of UC.
- The number of CTR recipients by passported status from March 2020 to March 2021 is available in the supplementary tables. The figures show that the number of passported CTR recipients has decreased gradually whereas the number of
non-passported CTR recipients has increased sharply as a result of the initial economic impacts of Covid-19.
2.3 CTR recipients by age and family type
Chart 10 shows the number of CTR recipients by age group in March 2021. Between March 2020 and March 2021, the number of CTR recipients increased for all age groups apart from those aged 65 or over which decreased by 1 per cent. Those aged 35-44 increased the most (13 per cent) between March 2020 and March 2021.
Despite this, the age group with the highest proportion of CTR recipients continues to be those aged 65 or over, at 34 per cent (169,540 CTR recipients) in March 2021, a small reduction from 37 per cent (171,720 CTR recipients) in March 2020. The March 2021 proportions of CTR recipients for all other age groups were similar to those in March 2020, with similar proportions also observed during the financial year. The age group with the lowest proportion were those aged under 25 at 3 per cent (16,330 CTR recipients). This can in part be explained by the fact there are generally less individuals aged under 25 years old with Council Tax liability and therefore applying for CTR.
Chart 11 shows the number of CTR recipients by family type in March 2021. Between March 2020 and March 2021, CTR recipients increased for all family types, with couples having one or more child dependants rising the most by 14 per cent to 28,950 CTR recipients.
In March 2021, over two thirds of CTR recipients (67 per cent) were single with no child dependent, similar to March 2020. Lone parents made up 16 per cent, and 17 per cent were couples (with or without children) similar to the proportions observed in March 2020.
2.4 CTR recipients by deprivation
The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) is the Scottish Government’s official tool for identifying areas of multiple deprivation. It divides Scotland into 6,976 datazones, each containing around 350 households or approximately 700-800 people. Each datazone has a calculated ‘deprivation score’ and these scores are then used to rank the datazones. Decile 1 contains the ten per cent most deprived datazones, Decile 2 contains the next ten per cent most deprived, and so on.
It should be noted that the overall SIMD score is a relative measure and assesses deprivation across seven domains – income, employment, education, health, access to services, crime and housing. The CTR scheme is principally concerned with income and household circumstances as a basis for making awards (see Figure 3).
Between March 2020 and March 2021, CTR recipients increased in all deciles with the percentage increase greatest in the least deprived datazones. This percentage change may be greater at the lower deprivation levels as the numbers of CTR recipients are smaller resulting in larger percentage increases. Decile 1 increased by 3 per cent whilst decile 10 increased by 20 per cent. Chart 12 shows the spread of CTR recipients across areas of deprivation, using SIMD deciles as described above, which shows that the proportions in each decile have remained similar to proportions in March 2020 despite the increases observed at a decile level. It can be observed that CTR recipients are heavily concentrated in areas of highest deprivation, with 57 per cent of CTR recipients (282,220) in the lowest three deciles in March 2021 compared to 58 per cent in March 2020.
Further details of SIMD2020 are available at https://www.gov.scot/news/scottish-index-of-multiple-deprivation-2020/.
2.5 Full and partial CTR
Full CTR refers to CTR recipients whose Council Tax liability is reduced to zero. Partial CTR refers to CTR recipients whose Council Tax liability is reduced, but they are still liable to pay some Council Tax. Further details on these terms and how CTR is calculated are given in Section 1.1.
Between March 2020 and March 2021, the number of CTR recipients increased for those that received full and partial award status. Partial CTR increased by 2 per cent and full CTR increased by 7 per cent. The number of partial awards increased in April 2020 (for both passported and non passported) and fluctuated marginally during the subsequent few months before gradually decreasing over the remaining financial year. The numbers of full awards for non-passported CTR recipients have increased gradually over this time having risen sharply in April and May 2020 compared to the decreasing trend observed for CTR recipients in receipt of full CTR from passported benefits. The number of CTR recipients by full or partial award and passported status from March 2020 to March 2021 is available in the supplementary tables.
Chart 13 compares the number of CTR recipients in March 2020 and March 2021 by full or partial award and passported status. It can be seen that the rise in CTR recipients is predominantly driven by the 34 per cent rise in non-passported and full CTR recipients from 128,390 CTR recipients in March 2020 to 171,450 CTR recipients in March 2021.
The proportion of CTR recipients receiving full CTR who are in receipt of a passporting benefit and have no non-dependants living in their household decreased from 51 per cent in March 2020 to 49 per cent in April 2020. During this time, the proportion of CTR recipients receiving full CTR from a non-passporting benefit increased by 2 per cent to 30 per cent in April 2020. Since then, CTR recipients receiving full CTR in receipt of a passporting benefit have gradually decreased to 45 per cent whilst CTR recipients receiving full CTR from a non passporting benefit increased gradually to 35 per cent in March 2021.
In March 2021, 54 per cent of CTR recipients were non-passported CTR recipients, a rise from 48 per cent in March 2020. Of this, 35 per cent of CTR recipients (171,450) were awarded full CTR and the remainder (97,640 CTR recipients) were awarded partial CTR.
Of all CTR recipients, just under four-fifths (79 per cent, 394,690 CTR recipients) were in receipt of full CTR in March 2021, similar to March 2020.
a Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Components may not sum to total due to rounding.
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