Council Tax exemptions query

Hi Everyone,

I hope everyone is keeping well. It has been some time since my last post. Trying to keep healthy in between this financial crisis we are having.

My brother is doing extremely well (cardiac arrest out-patient) and slowly introducing him back to some form of activity that he was used to. A brief visit to his day service centre was well received and his first visit to the cinema in over 2 years with his PA was enjoyable.

We are in receipt of Housing benefit and any adjustments (rent increase) I notify the council department asap. I contacted the HB dept via phone over this over 3 weeks ago. No response. I contacted via email, especially after receiving a high council tax bill statement (this is a first). No response.
I had to contact them again today on the phone as the HB on my rent statement is reducing every month despite paying the difference while I can. The person I spoke to was very good and has attached an urgent response to my query to the HB team.

Getting to the point. Despite being exempt from council tax over the years and now receiving a hefty bill this year of all years. Has there been a change of law or would there been error as the HB adjustment has not been completed by the HB department? Our circumstances have not changed I am still an unpaid carer for my sibling who lives with me.

It is getting really difficult to budget when you are budgeting on the basics already and then your wonderful council decides to drop a council tax billl in the middle of it all.

Try and guess the borough?

Best wishes


Hi Erolly,

Lovely to hear from you. Great your brother is getting back to activities again :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Are you getting council tax relief because of your brother? Help with Council Tax | Carers UK


There would have been a charge in income somewhere along the line. Can you think of any change in capital and/or what you have previously advised them of.

Are you able to set up an account on line with your LC so you would have access to your benefits.

I’d send a “please explain” letter to them.

Hi Melly1,

We always had council tax relief because of my brother. He lives with me and in receipt of DLA and ESA. I am unemployed and receive IS and carers allowance.

As for savings (if you could call it that ) is well under the threshold of £6,000.
Access to online with the HB is an issue in itself. I have been pursuing them (the council) that I cannot access this due to technical failure from last year. They (tech team) claim they will contact me about this at the beginning of this year and that there is a 3 month wait…to get back to me.

A letter is probably the best thing as phone calls can take ages ( e.g. you are 15th in the queue and the last person waited 10 minute) and I am already bracing for the telephone and broadband bill. As for emails I think threy are inundated as there is no response. It is just the lack of or no communication which puzzles me.

The council has been going through a financial situation during the pandemic.


In those circumstances, send the letter Recorded Delivery and staple the receipt to a paper copy of your email.

Hi Erolly,

contacting them by letter , does sound like the best plan (signed for), unless they have email. I think all services have become ridiculous. Can’t get through to anybody, waiting times endless.

Might worth asking your MP for help … funny how quickly things get sorted after being contacted by an MP!


Hi everyone,

Just an update on this Council Tax situation.

They (CT) emailed me to give me a breakdown of their calculation. To cut it short and spare the details. “There are certain incomes that we disregard in full and certain incomes that we disregard in part or a portion of.”
Any reduction is based on income per week or in my case what benefits we received. The higher the income the lower the support it becomes and they gave me how it worked in percentages per weekly income.
No explanation of the previous years exemptions (did I miss something here?)
They proceed to add some discretionary scheme (I am assuming hardship fund) for those who are struggling meeting payments. All this information after I complained after they unceremoniously dropped the CT bill on me.
No response from the HB department, I am assuming the two departments do not communicate with each other and no explanation why the HB is decreasing. Their conduct is too shady for my liking. Already sent off a letter to my local MP. Recorded delivery letters already in the post.

They are so fast to calculate, demand payment and assume payment can be met. Yet they cannot forecast and include my future utility bills and the rest. They have already increased my brother’s monthly Direct Payments contribution.
All I can say that I am grateful that my parents raised me to question and challenge things, more so when they do not feel right. It has saved me from a lot of trouble over the years especially financially.

I cannot afford to stress myself about it. It would only reflect badly on my brother and both our hearts are precious.


I will keep you posted.

Make a “Subject Access Request” to the council, you should be able to do it online.
Ask for copies of their calculations of your CT exemptions for the last five years.
They are legally required to provide this information within about a month.
See the Information Commissioners website for full details.

MPs don’t usually have much influence with councils. Better to speak to your local councillor. They can open doors an MP can’t.

Thanks bowlingbun.
I was not aware of this Subject Access Request.


Another thing you many not be aware of is a FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST - FOI

If you want to know any information about policy, procedures, how many people receive certain services, etc. you can make an FOI.
You don’t have to give a reason for asking.
Again, there is a time within which they have to reply. If you apply via the council’s website, they have an online form, and when you’ve submitted it, you should get an acknowledgement immediately.
When I was involved with a planning issue, I made an FOI. A councillor asked me “How do you know about FOI’s?”
I often call myself an “Information Ferret”.
Dad was a scientist who was always thinking, questioning, and this rubbed off on me, just not his mathematical brain!!!

I hope everyone had a fruitful Carers Week.

Hopefully this is the final update of this Council tax. All I can say that there is an upside to all of this palaver. Further knowledge.
I was not aware of the discount on your water bill if you are struggling financially. Water help and Watersure, you should find this on your suppliers website.

I contacted my local carers support centre and found out there was a consultation, carers and council tax was on the menu (my words not theirs). I feel as if there was a party and I was not invited. I finally find out there was a change of council tax policy this year.
So in the middle of toing and froing of emails and letters I paid a council tax bill with the intention of claiming the £150 rebate. (That is a long and drawn out situation and many are still waiting).

The MP responded and contacted the council ( yes, I was stunned), I would not be surprised if my letter was disclosed (it is the type of letter you do not ignore). The coucil tax bill has been reviewed, revised and reduced. The HB department has informed me the exact amont of HB that we are entitled to.

No response about the subject access request. In due course I will get onto the council website i see what I can do. Thank you all for your help and advice.

Just one thing concerns me. If my council is taking and I am assuming the Carers Allowance into consideration with council tax. Would this mean any increase in Carers Allowance would mean more council tax to pay.