Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government
Today, I am pleased to announce I have laid regulations that update the earning thresholds, for deductions made under an attachment of earnings order, used by a local authority to recover council tax arrears in certain circumstances.
Many households have felt the pressures of financial hardship during the course of the pandemic and, while council tax is vital in ensuring Welsh local authorities can continue to operate effectively, we must also ensure that people who are experiencing hardship are appropriately supported. These regulations will bring the earnings thresholds up-to-date so that people within our communities who are struggling financially will be treated more fairly, as we committed to doing in our Programme for Government 2021-2026.
Where working households fall into arrears with their council tax, local authorities may apply for an attachment of earnings order to recover the arrears in instalments from their earnings. The amounts which may be recovered are subject to limits based on earnings thresholds set out in legislation. The changes in the regulations I have laid today would enable council tax payers in arrears who are on low incomes to retain more of their weekly or monthly earnings and spread the cost of their debt, and I was pleased to see strong support for the proposal in the responses to the consultation we have received.
This is an opportunity to make our council tax system fairer and I thank everyone who took the time to contribute to the consultation. This amending legislation which updates the earnings thresholds will come into force on, and apply to any new orders issued from, 1 April 2022.