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Exclusively reported in an Independent article, more than two million of the poorest people in England are facing rising council tax demands this year because of fresh Government cuts to the benefit system, new figures reveal.

War widows, carers and the disabled are among 2.31 million people who used to be entitled to council tax benefit but have now had their support substantially reduced or taken away altogether.

As a result, significant numbers of families have been pushed into debt, with a survey revealing that nearly 16,000 people in London alone have been referred to the bailiffs for non-payment.

Freedom of Information requests sent by Labour to all local authorities in England reveal that 409,000 disabled people have seen their council tax increase, while 112,000 carers have also been hit.

Around 3,600 recipients of pensions relating to being a war widow or a disabled veteran as a result of service in the Armed Forces have seen their council tax increase.

Council Tax Benefit used to provide nearly £5bn of support to 5.9 million people.

Recent research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that the shake-up reduced entitlement for 2.5 million working households by an average of £160 in the last financial year.
Some 70 per cent of authorities asked for a minimum payment and only 20 per cent found the money to maintain the previous level of support.

Labour’s shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Hilary Benn said the changes had “already caused misery for hundreds of thousands of the poorest people, driving them into courts and into debt”.

“This is the Government effectively raising taxes for the very poorest. The bedroom tax has already hit thousands of disabled people. This additional burden is simply adding to the problems faced by disabled people. ”

Read the full story in the Independent

Comments  

#5 robin 2015-03-28 17:12
Quoting Paul Richards:
Hi angela,
You are right with this - in the past, anyone on benefits were entitled to all of their Council Tax being paid for - (i.e: 0 rated)
Since April 2013 ALL people on benefits (as far as I am aware - and that includes us) have had to pay at least a quarter of their total Council Tax (i.e: 25%)
I
They cannot look after our sick & disabled. Shame on them all!!

'FOREIGN AID' is a scam whereby our government receives lucrative contracts in those countries. We get back far more from being in the E.U. than we pay in. We have a bloated military we are spending £30B a year on....we could get rid of that and Billionaires pay the same council tax on their mansions and castles as we pay on a two up and two down.
#4 WickedWitch 2014-07-31 16:35
...
I am also shocked at the option to save money by having every resident pay 25% of the council tax. Again, this is something better off people will cheerfully vote for, perhaps even feeling rather righteous as they do so. This council has already made the decision to allow disabled and vulnerable people on fixed incomes to shoulder the burden of the reduced council tax support budget, unlike many other councils. Now you are encouraging people to vote to increase that burden even further, while retaining the right to say 'we didn't decide this, it's what the majority wanted!'
#3 WickedWitch 2014-07-31 16:30
My council (Bexley) is currently running an online survey asking constituents what they think council tax should be spent on. It includes options to further cut crisis help and to force all residents to pay 25% council tax. I responded with the following :

I want to express to you and the rest of the council how deeply disappointed I am with the nature of the youchoose survey and the way the questions are skewed to encourage people to make the choices that you as a body would prefer.

To give other people the power to decide how much money the community will be spending on services for poor and vulnerable people is reprehensible. You cannot fail to be aware that the majority will choose to cut housing benefits and crisis help as they do not need these things (yet) and have been influenced by more than four years of media suggestions that people are only poor because they are lazy and stupid- if they are actually poor at all, rather than just making fraudulent benefit claims to the tune of thousands. The idea of not letting people submit at all if they have suggested actions that will call for more than a 2% rise in council tax is also ridiculous. Firstly because many people will give up and not bother to submit, thus losing their right to have their opinion heard and secondly because the figure is completely arbitrary. There is no reason not to raise the tax by 3, or 4, or 5% if that is necessary to keep services running properly. Or rather, there is no reason except that 'we haven't raised the council tax' is the only platform for re-election this council actually has.

TBC
#2 Paul Richards 2014-07-26 20:46
Hi angela,
You are right with this - in the past, anyone on benefits were entitled to all of their Council Tax being paid for - (i.e: 0 rated)
Since April 2013 ALL people on benefits (as far as I am aware - and that includes us) have had to pay at least a quarter of their total Council Tax (i.e: 25%)
I have found since that it may be possible to appeal against this,
but so far we have not got around to doing this (info from a demo. on a placard in London a few weeks ago)
Whilst, in difficult financial circumstances across the UK, in principle we have no real problem with this - it does seem very unfair that the very lowest financially able people on the very lowest incomes,
such as JSA (& also) ESA will also have to contribute.
All I have to say is that the UK is at the moment the 7th most wealthy country in the world.
We are currently sending £113 million in overseas aid!!!! What!!!
And we are spending £55 million per day to the E.U.
We are spending 73 percent of our GDP on servicing this Countries debts of goodness knows how many £ trillions - it is surely the economics of the madhouse.
They cannot look after our sick & disabled. Shame on them all!!
+1 #1 angela 2014-07-25 22:00
When I went to school I was told you cant take 10 from 8 someone should tell this government before all benefit claiments find them selfs on the street

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