Thousands of families who put up elderly relatives and others in annexes to their homes have now received discounts to their Council Tax bills, new figures have shown.
More than £1.3 million has now been knocked off bills nationwide since the charge was reduced last year, with ministers calling on councils to do more to make sure all eligible homes are included.
The government moved to scrap the unfair surcharge on family annexes, where 2 Council Tax bills were being levied on the same home if it had a ‘granny flat’ or similar extension.
Discounts of 50% were authorised for properties where families were housing non-dependent relatives or where the annexe was in use by the main householder. These tax cuts were in addition to the already existing total exemptions given to families who were putting up a dependent relative.
So more than 2,400 homes have benefited from the new discounts across the country, with nearly 17,000 now getting a discount or an exemption. Cornwall is the granny flat capital of England where 595 households are getting support.
But ministers believe many more people are entitled to the reductions and are urging town halls to be more open with residents about who can benefit, as well as encouraging those who think they might be eligible to apply.
Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins said:
It is only right we help hard-working families by giving people the choice to live with extended family without having to pay the price twice through double taxation in their Council Tax bills.
Councils must pass this discount on to those who are rightly entitled to it. By cutting these taxes on family annexes we are sending a strong message that we want to help extended families stay together.
We have been working to give people greater financial security by keeping household costs down through our 5-year Council Tax freeze which has saved the average band D household £1,075 since 2010, compared to a period between 1997 and 2010 when bills doubled.
Top 10 areas awarding family annexe exemptions and discounts this year
||Number of exempt annexes: Class T
||Number of exempt annexes: Class W
||Estimated number of dwellings that received a family annexe discount
||Total annexes getting support
|King’s Lynn and West Norfolk
- Number of exempt annexes is the number of dwellings in Class T and W exemptions on the October 2014 Council Tax Base form.
- Class T applies to annexes which may not be let separately from the main property because of a planning restriction.
- Class W is the dependent relative exemption.