Speaking about the announcement, Prime Minister David Cameron said:
We will continue to do whatever it takes to support communities across the country who have been affected by flooding. We are taking action across the board and in addition to a range of measures that I have already announced to help hardworking people, I have today confirmed that we will make £4 million available to fund Council Tax rebates for people whose homes have been flooded.
The process of getting communities back on their feet will take time and people should not have to worry about paying Council Tax while they focus on the clear-up process.
Councils already have the local power to levy Council Tax discounts. Some councils have already announced that they intend to use this power to offer Council Tax relief to flood hit homes.
The government will support councils for the cost of such discounts. This would allow for at least 3 months’ discount for everyone flooded. Guidance for councils will be published by the Department for Communities and Local Government tomorrow (20 February).
Local authorities can use powers under section 13A of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 to grant Council Tax discounts on properties affected by flooding. It allows local billing authorities the flexibility to grant reductions or exemptions on an individual basis or for a class of Council Tax payers including to reduce the amount to nil. It remains up to local authorities to decide whether or not to use this power. Central government does not need to approve this.
Central government support to local authorities will be provided through grant funding. This would allow for at least 3 months’ discount for everyone flooded.
The majority of people will have completed paying their Council Tax bill for 2013 to 2014, so we would expect this to be deducted from April’s bills when the new tax year starts.