By Monica Gibson

THE number of people across Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire who get help to pay their council tax has dropped dramatically, latest figures reveal.

In June this year, a total of 18,471 Renfrewshire households were supported by Scotland’s Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme – 2,450 fewer than in April 2013, when it was first introduced.

There has also been a significant drop in East Renfrewshire, where the total has fallen from 5,210 to 4,620 households over that four-year period.

The total annual income forgone by Renfrewshire Council as a result of CTR stands at more than £12.5million, while the figure for East Renfrewshire is around £3.7m.

According to the Scottish Government, there are many reasons for the fall in the number of households receiving CTR support.

These include a drop in working age and pension age recipients, as well as record levels of employment.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Since 2013/14, we have invested more than £1 billion in the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, which has helped more than half a million households.

“We have included an additional £351 million in this year’s local government finance settlement to ensure local authorities are compensated for covering the costs of the scheme.

“We have also made council tax fairer and included a 25 per cent increase to the child allowance in the Council Tax Reduction Scheme reforms that were introduced in April 2017.”

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “The Council Tax Reduction (CTR scheme provides essential support to residents on low incomes and the council encourages any resident who thinks they may be eligible to apply.

“The CTR scheme replaced the previous Council Tax Benefit which was abolished as part of the UK Government welfare reform programme and responsibility was devolved to the Scottish Government, along with an associated funding transfer.

“The Scottish Government now provides funding to local authorities to pay for the CTR scheme as part of the Government Grant provided to local authorities each year and therefore there is no cost to the council or council tax payers for this assistance provided to eligible applicants.”

An East Renfrewshire Council spokesperson added: “The CTR scheme forms part of our budget planning each year.

“The annual Revenue Support Grant, paid by the Scottish Government to local authorities across Scotland, includes an element to cover the estimated impact of CTR awarded to local residents.”