The Welsh government is making significant changes to ensure that a long-standing tax reduction is no longer hidden from people diagnosed as ‘severely mentally impaired’.
The announcement is in response to a campaign by MoneySavingExpert.com, and will ensure people with conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease and severe learning difficulties are told that they may be due thousands of pounds in rebates.
For more than two years, MSE has been warning that tens of thousands of severely mentally impaired people who are entitled to a council tax discount could be missing out on £400 per year, as the application process varies between councils.
But now the Welsh Government and all 22 Welsh local authorities have made every change called for by MSE in its 2017 report, The Disregarded Discount.
This means the application form for the discount will be standardised across the country, and backdating is to be allowed by every council in a standardised way.
Martin Lewis, founder of MSE, is now pushing for changes in the rest of the UK.
He said: “Most councils haven’t helped spread the word, and disgracefully have often hindered people claiming by giving out misinformation. Some staff in our cold-calling exercise even said the discount doesn’t exist, meaning there are huge differences in take-up across the country. That simply isn’t right.
“I’m delighted that our research and campaign has been so warmly welcomed in Wales, and congratulate the Welsh Government and Welsh local councils for their swift and comprehensive action once it was alerted to the issue.”
Welsh Finance Minister Rebecca Evanssaid: “I am delighted that the Welsh Government is leading the way with this new approach, helping some of Wales’ most vulnerable people when they need it most.
“This is a great example of collaborative working and supports the Welsh Government’s commitment to making council tax fairer.
“We will continue to work closely with local authorities and the WLGA (Welsh Local Government Association) to encourage consistency in approaches to administering discounts and exemptions for everyone who is eligible.”