Tory Cuts to Council Tax Benefit

The Tory led coalition government have abolished Council Tax Benefit and now local councils have to draw up their own scheme of council tax support. This comes with an inbuilt cut of around 20% meaning that hard working low paid workers now face a council tax increase.

Pensioner households are protected from these changes and they will continue to receive the same level of council tax support, but this leads to other vulnerable and low paid groups having to bare more of the benefit cut and therefore having to pay more.

All councils have to go to public consultation regarding the scheme of council tax support that they plan on implementing, thus asking the public who they consider to be the deserving and undeserving poor.

Tory controlled Hillingdon Council propose a scheme that has an 80% cap on the eligible council tax support, this is because they believe in the principal that everyone has to pay something – even if they can’t afford to. This actually means that the residents that can least afford it will be paying more council tax.

In real terms this means that a couple (both working) with two children and a weekly income of £458 will see their current £5.89 weekly council tax benefit fall to 43p per week. The monthly council tax payment in this case would rise from £93.05 to£116.78 People on Job Seekers Allowance will see their council tax bills rise, so out of their £56.25 per week, they will need to use £4.10 of it for Council tax.

Hillingdon’s public consultation on their proposed Council Tax Support Scheme endsat the end of October, so you still have chance to put your views on the proposals.The council’s website has a page dedicated to this with lots of information plus anon-line consultation form. This can be accessed at

http://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/ctconsultation

At the Tory party conference David Cameron ruled out a mansion tax and made a big announcement that they would ensure that council tax is frozen again next year,and locally Cllr Puddifoot claims that he is putting residents first by freezing council tax, however what they are not telling you is that those who can least afford to pay are being forced to pay increases in council tax.

The changes to council tax support will see over 13000 council tax payers facing an increase, and not surprisingly most of these people will be living in the south of the borough where the residents always seem to come last with this Tory Council.

The Tories at both a national and local level are clearly the party for the rich and put residents first providing they are not part of those considered to be either deserving or undeserving poor.

Next time you see a headline or a Tory leaflet claiming to have frozen your council tax, please remember that those on the lowest incomes are actually having to cope with Council Tax increases on top of all the other financial pressures they are under.

Cllr Peter Curling
Leader of the Labour Group
London Borough of Hillingdon