Council Tax is already an unwelcome bill for many, and it’s set to provide even more of a squeeze from this April.

According to the County Councils Network (CCN), as of mid-February 113 local authorities in England had already announced plans to increase their Council Tax rates in April, with 84 of these raising them by the maximum of 5%.

It’s well worth checking if you could be entitled to a discount from your local authority on your Council Tax. In this article, we’ll explain how much Council Tax is going up by, and list the types of reductions and discounts that might be available to you if you’re struggling to pay.

Is my Council Tax going up?

Of the local authorities in England who have published budget proposals for the 2023/24 tax year, the vast majority plan to increase Council Tax bills, and around three-quarters of these councils have confirmed that bills will go up by the maximum permitted increase of 5%.

Croydon council has received special permission to hike Council Tax by a massive 15%, and Slough and Thurrock by 10%. At the time of writing, 38 councils still have yet to confirm their plans.

The average UK Council Tax bill for a household in band D is currently £1,966, an increase of over £500 since 2010. This is set to increase by a further £99 to £2,095 from April, though of course whether you actually face an increase will depend on where you live and which band your property is in.

People living in rural areas tend to be hit with the heftiest Council Tax bills, as local authorities in the countryside typically receive less direct funding from the government and have to resort to taxation to make up the difference.

With inflation still historically high, many councils recognise the strain this will place on households already struggling with the cost of living crisis, but say they are left with the impossible choice between increasing Council Tax and cutting frontline services.

Can I get a reduction or discount on my Council Tax bill?

In some circumstances, you may be eligible for a reduction or discount on your Council tax bill. Discounts should be applied automatically, but check your bill or contact your local council if you believe you are entitled to a discount and aren’t sure whether it’s been applied. Here are some of the discounts you might qualify for:

1) Single person discount

If you are the only adult living in your home, you are eligible for the single person discount. This is 25% off your Council Tax bill.

Certain people are ‘disregarded’ for Council Tax purposes, meaning that you might still be eligible for this discount even if other adults live in your home. For example, if everyone in the household except you is a full-time student, you will still receive the single person discount. See below for the full list of disregarded people.

2) Disability reduction

If you or someone you live with is disabled, the council will reduce your Council Tax to the rate of the next lowest band. For example, if you live in a band D property, you will be charged at the band C rate. If you live in a Band A property (the lowest band), it will be reduced by 17%.

You must be able to show that the disabled person lives in the property, and the property must have been adequately adapted to meet the needs of the disabled person.

3) Reduction for those on low income - Council Tax Reduction

If you are on a low income and have less than £16,000 in savings, you may be eligible for Council Tax Reduction (CTR), also known as Council Tax Support. This is a reduction of up to 100% on your Council Tax, though the exact amount depends on your income, savings, circumstances, which benefits you claim, and if other non-dependant adults live with you. You can apply for the reduction at

If you live with an adult who is on a low income or certain benefits, you may be eligible for a ‘second adult rebate’. Your household cannot claim both CTR and a second adult rebate, however.

4) Discounts on additional homes

You may be eligible for a temporary discount on an additional property if it is empty for certain reasons, such as it is currently unsafe to live in, it is unfurnished or you can’t live there for work reasons. Your council will tell you how much this discount is and how long you will get it for.

An extra home connected to your main property (an ‘annexe’) is eligible for a 50% Council Tax discount if it is used by people who live in the main property or their family. You won’t have to pay Council Tax on an annexe if it is empty, or if a dependent family member (such as one with a disability) lives there.

5) Is your property in the wrong Council Tax band?

It is not uncommon for people to be in the wrong Council Tax band, and it is free to challenge your band if you think this might be the case. You must, however, be confident that your property is in a lower band before submitting your application to change your property’s band, or there’s a risk that you (and your neighbours) could end up facing steeper council tax bills.

Read our article How to challenge your Council Tax band to find out what steps you need to take if you think your property is in too high a band.

6) Are you disregarded from Council Tax?

Some people are not counted as living in your home for the purposes of calculating Council Tax. These are known as disregarded people.

You should be aware if anyone in your household is disregarded, as it may affect your entitlement to a discount or reduction. If everyone in a household is disregarded, there’s still usually a Council Tax bill, but it will have a 50% discount. However, if everyone in your household is a student or is severely mentally impaired, you won’t pay any Council Tax.

Disregarded people include the following:

Young people

Children under 18 are disregarded, and 18 and 19 year olds can be disregarded if someone is entitled to Child Benefit for them, or if they were still in secondary education on 30 April. If they leave school or college after 30 April, they will be disregarded until 1 November the same year.

People in education or training

You’ll be disregarded if you are:

  • a full-time student on a degree level or postgraduate course
  • a person aged 19 or under on a course before degree level
  • a student nurse
  • a young person on a government training scheme
  • on an apprenticeship
  • a Foreign Language Assistant on the official British Council programme
  • A non-British citizen who is the spouse, civil partner or dependent of a full-time student, and can’t work or can’t claim benefits in the UK.

People living away from home

Someone may be disregarded from paying Council Tax if they are living away from home temporarily, for example because they are:

  • a long-term hospital patient or care home resident.
  • living in a hostel which provides care because of their age, disability, substance abuse issues or mental illness.
  • staying in a hostel or night shelter.
  • a prisoner or in detention awaiting deportation or under mental health legislation.
  • living in a bail or probation hostel.

People with severe mental impairments

Someone will be disregarded if they have a permanent mental health condition, such as dementia. A doctor’s certificate must be provided to prove this, and they must be claiming a government benefit on the basis of their condition. Someone with a severe mental impairment will usually have to pay no Council Tax at all if they live alone.

Some live-in care workers are also disregarded.

Ukrainian citizens

If your household hosts someone under the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, then they are disregarded.

Help paying your bills

It’s a tough time for everyone, and even if you aren’t eligible for help with your Council Tax, there may be other forms of support available to you for some of your other regular bills. Read our article Get help with your bills to find out more.

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