It is not Labour policy to scrap the single occupant council tax discount

26 November 2019
What was claimed

Labour are proposing stopping the 25% discount on council tax for single householders.

Our verdict

This is not Labour policy.

We’ve seen a number of posts on Facebook claiming that Labour have snuck out a policy to stop the 25% discount on council tax for single occupants.

This is not Labour policy, and is based on a sentence in a report commissioned, not written, by Labour earlier this year, and is not in their manifesto or costing documents.

Currently, there is a 25% discount on your council tax bill if you are an adult who lives alone or no one else in your home counts as an adult.

These images seem to be based on a recent Express article, which claims “Nearly three million pensioners could face council tax hikes averaging more than £300 a year under Labour plans to scrap discounts for single people.” The Conservatives first made the claim in June.

The Conservatives’ claim is based on a report commissioned by Labour from June 2019 called ‘Land for the Many: Changing the way our fundamental asset is used, owned and governed’.

On the subject of how housing stock is used, the report said: “our council tax system actually offers discounts for second homes and for single people occupying large homes, encouraging the over consumption of housing”. It later goes on to recommend that a future Labour government introduce a “progressive property tax based on contemporary property values…payable by owners, not tenants” to replace council tax. It doesn’t specifically mention stopping a single occupancy discount.

But none of these recommendations are repeated in Labour’s manifesto (which we checked recently here) or their costings document. The latter does mention council tax, but only in the context of introducing a second homes tax.

We deserve better than bad information.

We got in touch to request a correction regarding a claim made in the Express.

They did not respond.

It’s not good enough.

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