COUNCIL TAX REDUCTION SCHEME
How have we come to this?
We are strapped for cash and we are making the most disadvantaged pay for that. So a double whammy. Council tax going up by £5 and the council tax reduction scheme going up for the poorest by another 35% of that.
Do you know that 259 authorities out of 326 require everyone to pay at least some council tax apart from the people statutorily exempt- pensioners and war - wounded and in work war widows.
That means 67 authorities have found ways of protecting the poorest. Why haven’t we done that?
And others that implement the scheme like Corby, have kept the contribution low income households pay at 8%. Why haven’t we done that?
We have just entered the 5th year of the scheme.
Because the government has protected pensioners it means that the funding cut has fallen disproportionately on people of working age. 70% of those affected by the bedroom tax are also affected by council tax support cuts. Council tax support cuts affect 6 times as many people as the bedroom tax because any working age low income family is affected.
This goes to show that for some, work simply doesn’t pay. For them, work incentives have actually weakened rather than strengthened. The opposite of what we are told the government has intended.
Some of these working people stand to lose 97p for every extra £1 earned- a fundamentally unfair result.
The potential social and economic impacts of the Council Tax Reduction scheme are far reaching.
There is a real possibility that over the next year large numbers of people paying the CTR will fall into arrears. Chasing arrears costs money- officer time initially and then bailiffs and the courts. It takes energy away from more productive work.
Response to the consultation were interesting.
Responses were about fairness, about the increase in hardship, the impact of stagnating wages and increased bills
We need to stop causing hardship. We need to be fair. We need to develop an anti-poverty strategy and we need to stop making the poor pay for austerity.