3. Weekly Income Forgone Estimates
The CTR scheme reduces the amount of Council Tax a local authority can expect to receive, although the Scottish Government provides funding to each local authority to reflect that their Council Tax income is lower due to CTR. Weekly income forgone figures are reported monthly (the final published quarterly publication was in September 2020 for the period April – June 2020) and the following section provides the most recent data. The weekly income forgone estimates are based on the number of CTR recipients multiplied by the average weekly CTR amount per recipient for each local authority and benefit type for the given month. When a household’s Council Tax liability is reduced due to the CTR scheme, it reduces the amount of Council Tax a local authority can collect.
The total Council Tax weekly income forgone due to CTR was £7.328 million in March 2021, an increase of 12 per cent compared to March 2020. This rise is in line with the increase in CTR recipients mentioned above during this period. A breakdown of the total weekly income forgone by each local authority between March 2020 and March 2021 is shown in Table 3. It can be seen that Glasgow City accounted for one-fifth (20 per cent) of the total weekly income forgone for Scotland followed by City of Edinburgh (8 per cent) and North Lanarkshire (7 per cent) in March 2021. This is consistent with the higher numbers of CTR recipients recorded for these local authorities and is similar to the proportions observed in March 2020.
|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||102.1||117.0||118.5||117.4||118.4||117.6||116.2||115.5||115.4||115.4||115.2||114.4||114.9||12.5%|
|City of Edinburgh||478.9||527.0||552.5||564.0||560.0||564.2||566.8||569.8||563.7||566.1||557.4||560.5||558.0||16.5%|
|Dumfries and Galloway||174.1||202.5||199.2||197.7||198.4||196.8||196.6||196.5||196.7||196.1||192.4||192.3||191.8||10.1%|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||26.0||28.1||28.2||28.0||28.1||28.1||27.9||27.7||27.7||27.6||27.6||27.6||27.6||6.1%|
|Perth and Kinross||118.5||130.1||129.2||129.0||130.3||132.8||134.7||134.6||134.6||137.6||138.1||139.6||140.6||18.6%|
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 Weekly income forgone estimates are based on the number of CTR recipients multiplied by the average weekly CTR amount per recipient for each local authority and benefit type for the given month.
3 Figures are rounded to the nearest £100. Components may not sum to total due to rounding.Percentage change are based on unrounded figures.
3.1 Weekly income forgone over time
The total weekly income forgone estimates for Scotland (see section 5 for more details) has increased from £7.092 million in April 2013 to £7.328 million in March 2021. The income forgone estimates follow the same general pattern as the number of CTR recipients, with the exception of April 2017, 2018 and 2019 where there is a large increase in the income forgone from the previous month whilst the number of CTR recipients decreased. This is due to an increase in Council Tax between March and April of each year (as shown in Chart 1). The exception is in 2020 when CTR recipients increased due to the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Until March 2020, all local authorities had seen a decrease in their weekly estimates of CTR income forgone since April 2013 contributed to by a decrease in CTR recipients, with the exception of Aberdeenshire whose weekly estimate of CTR income forgone had increased by just over £10,000 in March 2020 (after a reported rise of just under £5,000 in March 2019) when compared to April 2013.
The number of CTR recipients and weekly income forgone have been closely linked, with most of the variability in income forgone being driven by the number of CTR recipients. However in April 2020, the weekly income forgone increased sharply by 10.6 per cent from the previous month as a result of the annual increase in Council Tax but also the increase in CTR recipients (4.4 per cent) as a result of the initial economic impacts of Covid-19 resulting in more claimants and therefore recipients of the CTR scheme. This is the largest monthly rise for both weekly income forgone and CTR recipients since the CTR scheme began. As a result, the weekly income forgone in March 2021 is now higher than when the scheme began in April 2013.
In March 2021, more than two–thirds of local authorities had seen an increase in their weekly estimates of CTR income forgone since the scheme began, with Glasgow City’s weekly estimate of CTR income forgone almost £60,000 more in March 2021 when compared to April 2013.
Chart 15 shows the month-on-month percentage changes in the number of CTR recipients and the weekly income forgone for April 2013 to March 2021. Rather than a sustained increase in income forgone, the chart spikes in April annually since 2017 (whilst the numbers of CTR recipients continue to decrease with the exception of 2020) due to changes in Council Tax. After the increases in Council Tax, the month-on-month comparisons decrease and follow previously observed patterns with the exception of 2020-21 where the number of recipients and weekly income forgone continued to rise and peaked in August 2020.
The Recipients and Income Forgone tables, previously published (25 May 2021) for the March 2021 data release, show an increase in the on-going costs of the scheme due largely to Council Tax increases and the initial economic impacts of Covid-19 in April and May 2020. Other factors that affect the total income forgone by local authorities include age, structure of the population and household income. Chart 15 also shows small peaks in the number of CTR recipients and weekly income forgone at the beginning and middle of each calendar year, indicating a possible seasonal effect.
The weekly income forgone estimate for each local authority for each month between April 2013 and March 2021 are also provided in the Recipients and Income Forgone tables.
3.2 Average weekly awards by passported status
In March 2021, the average weekly award per CTR recipient was £14.76 per week, up from £13.91 in March 2020. Increases in Council Tax rates in April 2020 and a sharp rise in CTR recipients as a result of the initial economic impacts of Covid-19 contributed to this. Therefore, in April 2020, the average weekly award per CTR recipient had risen to £14.73, the largest monthly increase since the scheme began.
Average weekly award per CTR recipient varied by both local authority (ranging from £12.90 to £17.35) and passported status in March 2021. These figures are included in the supplementary tables.
All passported benefits saw increases in average weekly awards per CTR recipient in March 2021 compared to March 2020 partly explained by Council Tax bills going up in April 2020. Some key variations are:
- Those non-passported and not in employment saw the largest increase (£1.26) in award in 2020-21.
- Non-passported CTR recipients who were in employment received the least on average per week at £11.57 (having also risen the least by 55 pence compared to March 2020). Those on Income Support received the most at £16.87.
- Passported income forgone will generally be higher (£15.91 in March 2021), by virtue of being on a passporting benefit, these CTR recipients will be in receipt of full CTR in almost all cases compared with £13.77 for non passported CTR recipients in March 2021.
- Chart 16 shows the average weekly award per CTR recipient by passported status.
The average weekly award by passported status and by local authorities are provided in the supplementary tables.
3.3 Average weekly awards by age and family type
Chart 17 shows the average weekly income forgone estimates by age group which has recorded an increase in all age categories in March 2021. Most of the rise happened in April 2020 as expected, after which the average weekly awards by age levelled off for the remainder of the financial year. The under 25 age category had the lowest average weekly award at £13.12 which also increased the least since March 2020. The average weekly income forgone estimate is generally higher at each age category until the 60 to 64 category was reached at which point it decreased.
Chart 18 shows the average weekly award by family type in March 2021 which has recorded an increase in all family categories since March 2020. It can be observed that couples generally have a higher average weekly awards than single adults. Single adults with no child dependents received the lowest average weekly award at £14.00 compared to couples with dependent children who had the highest average weekly award at £18.57. Most of the rise in average weekly award happened in April 2020 as expected after which the average weekly awards levelled off for the remainder of the financial year.
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