Council hoping to force jobless to pay council tax


4:01 pm - September 28th 2012

by Shantel Burns    


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Cornwall Council has released proposals to cut council tax benefit by 30% for all those of a working age.

In the new scheme everyone will have to pay a minimum of 30% of their council tax which means the maximum support a working age person can have is 70%.

It is also considering reducing the savings limit from £16,000 to £6,000, after which you would not be entitled to support.

The proposals have provoked a backlash from Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance and the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

Jim McKenzie of the CAB told This is Cornwall that 47% of council tax benefit recipients were of working age. “If you get into arrears of two months you are at risk of the council seeking a liability order at a magistrates court…The issue is how they treat people who can’t afford to pay…””

Chris Gibson from Anti Cuts Alliance said: “…if they wanted to make more money why don’t they target those who can afford to pay a little more instead of hitting those struggling at the bottom?”

The scheme poses problems of how people will find money they just don’t have to pay a proportion of council tax. With so many other cuts to benefits this is just another financial hardship for those who struggle the most.

Councillor Steve Double said: “We appreciate that this is unwelcome news.  What we have to do is find the fairest way to deal with the situation handed to us by the coalition Government which will leave a £6m black hole in the council tax benefit budget.”

The proposals, if accepted, would come into effect no later than 31st January 2013.

The new scheme would affect everyone (bar pensioners) of a working age in receipt of Council Tax Benefit, including: single parents, people on a disability benefit and those on JSA income based benefit.

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About the author
Shantel Burns is a News Editor at Liberal Conspiracy, and a publishing and journalism student and current affairs nerd. Blogs at: ramblepolitics.blogspot.co.uk too.
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Reader comments


Let them do it and then we can see what will happen. It may mean the poorer people move out and Cornwall becomes a haven for the wealthy or there will be destitution in the county or trouble.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Governments of the Tory hue will now all over the world cut all welfare because they just don’t care about people at the bottom, they think and feel that the plebs deserve nowt.

It’s not just Cornwall, the Tory Council on the Isle of Wight are planning to do the same!

Labour run Nottingham City Council are proposing a minimum liability of 20% for all, capping maximum eligibility at Band B level

http://ncclols.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/council-tax-benefit-replacement.html

I’ve since found out that they’re also proposing making a minimum payment of between £2 and £4 per week. This means that, when calculating your Council Tax Benefit, if your eligibility is less than this minimum payment, you simply don’t get it. This will massively hit low paid workers.

“Councillor Steve Double said: “We appreciate that this is unwelcome news. What we have to do is find the fairest way to deal with the situation handed to us by the coalition Government which will leave a £6m black hole in the council tax benefit budget.”

The proposals, if accepted, would come into effect no later than 31st January 2013.”

Please correct me if I’m wrong but I believe that the Government is reducing the support given to Local Councils by about 10% and this will come into effect in April 2013….
So why are they planning to cut benefits by 20 to 30%? and why three months before Government cut their support to Local Government?

This one has been coming for a while now. It will be the Coalition’s Poll Tax. Pickles hopes that he can palm the blame off to local government this time. He’s going to find a few smarter operators in local government than he supposed, but then if you look at the coalition the competition is hardly fierce.

If you only get £76 a week or what ever it is, how the hell are you going to pay it. You will end up losing your home. Maybe this is also social cleansing by the back door.

Central Government should have to foot the bill for those that are unemployed, sick, disabled, vulnerable or trhe poorest in society because it is their cut in funding to councils.

Remember what David Cameron said live during the final televised 2010 debate live : If you are sick, disabled, vulnerable, frail or the poorest in society you have nothing to fear if he becomes prime minister because he would protect that group of vulnerable people in society if he gets into Downing Street as prime minister.

It is now time to make David Cameron make good that promise because his Governments reduction in funding to councils has created this problem.

This Tory Led Coalition should be held to account and protect the vulnerable by funding the shortful in Council Tax.

You cannot get blood from a stone. The vulnerable did not cause this crisis and the least able to afford to put things right. They are going to become hungry and in many cases lose their homes through debt.

Maybe this is the Tories final solution by creating total misery to the least fortunate.

“So why are they planning to cut benefits by 20 to 30%? and why three months before Government cut their support to Local Government?”

Because there is no stat obligation to actually use the cash for CT benefit. As long as pensioners can get it – so that tory voters are still alive for the next election – councils can do what they like the surplus money after that.

8. Chaise Guevara

@ 6

It IS rather reminiscent of that Not The Nine O’Clock News sketch about putting extra tax on wheelchairs, white canes and guide dogs.

9. David Boothroyd

This is Eric Pickles’ doing – he has passed Council Tax Benefit over to individual councils, but with a cut of 10% in the amount, and also prevented any council from reducing Council Tax Benefit to pensioners. In most cases it isn’t possible for the councils to fund everyone who is getting council tax benefit.

However, I’m sure Cornwall would be one of the exceptions, because councils can also eliminate the discount on second homes, and Cornwall has more of them than almost everywhere else.

@4 – it’s a higher percentage because Pickles has dictated that pensioners must not be affected; so the entire 10% cut falls on working age claimants. This increases the percentage of the cut.

It’s happening in advance of April 2013 because they have to have policies consulted on and voted on before the end of January, ready for implementation. It’s an incredibly rushed timescale and causing major problems.

It’s absolutely not just Tory councils doing it. Labour councils, Lib Dems, all. Some are avoiding by either cutting elsewhere (which carries its own problems) or raising council tax on existing payers. Plus councils can now increase council tax on empty properties and second homes and use the funds to cushion or wipe out the impact, which some are doing. Any council that isn’t has major questions to answer.

Indeed it isnt just tory councils although its a tory government causing this, my council is lib dem labour mixed and the proposed increases to the vulnerable are a whopping 27% on top of whatever they pay now. They are even claiming on their own website they have been asked to make cuts of 19% not 10%.

12. Mike Killingworth

Over on Political Betting they would square this circle with ease. Simply allow Councils to take claimants’ politics into account when setting benefit levels. Indeed, why should anyone except Tories* be allowed the biggest subsidy of all – a secure tenancy?

Allow Councils to bring back Poll Tax with exemptions for “patriots” (to be defined locally of course :oops: )

*And Kippers, of course. Never forget Kippers. God Bless Kippers.

There is a lot of poverty in Cornwall. Many people on benefits, many people doing low-paid work (often seasonal). Then you have rich people who retire down there having made their money somewhere else, and vast amounts of holiday homes which stand empty for most of the year. Both of these factors push up house prices and therefore rents. It makes it very difficult for Cornish people to get a decent place to rent never mind buy.

I can see these proposals causing a lot of problems. Someone else mentioned second homes and seeing as Cornwall has such an abundance of these I’m not sure why that is not the first line of attack for increases in council tax.

In any case it’s interesting that Cornwall is a county where Labour doesn’t usually get a look in when it comes to general elections. Many people, including a lot of my family, voted Lib Dem in 2010 to keep the Tories out – and seeing as that worked out so well, I’m wondering what will happen in 2015…

@Violet #13:

Many people, including a lot of my family, voted Lib Dem in 2010 to keep the Tories out – and seeing as that worked out so well, I’m wondering what will happen in 2015…

A lot of people did exactly the same in 1997; not that that was any more successful…

Actually, I have thought about this and the more I think about it, forcing benefit claimants to pay council tax actually makes sense. I am the first to admit that I never normally support the Tories and their Lib Dem arse lickers, but on this occasion, I have to follow the logic and the logic is iron bar solid.

If we are looking to shift the burden of taxation from the rich to the poor then it stands to reason that shifting regressive taxation further is the next logical step.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish that the burden of taxation was becoming more progressive, but, if the consensus is regressive taxation is the way forward then this is the way forward.

There is no point in condoning other forms regressive taxation and then drawing the line at this one. Political Parties have to decide on a coherent taxation policy and consistently sticking to it. For Labour it means answering a difficult question? If raising VAT rates on benefit recipients is acceptable, then why not this move?

This ideological government at work reflecting a policy which is not actually rational but is best described as ‘magical thinking’ i.e. that those on benefits will somehow be able to pay a percentage of council tax.

These proposals reflect the current wish of the Government to pull away one of the fundamental pillars on which council tax is based – that is those on low incomes and benefits would be received 100% benefit. This was a fundamental principle of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 which introduced the council tax as a hasty replacment for the ill-fated poll tax which was based on the notion “that everyone should pay something” as if council services were designed as consumer goods and services

Regarding the current proposals to tax the unemployed, this repeating one of the flaws in thinking which were contained in the Local Government Finance Act 1988 which introduced the ‘poll tax’ and which required those on benefits to pay 20%.

The response in 1990 to the poll tax was widespread non-payment, both deliberate and by default – the latter as a simple result of the fact you can’t conjure up money out of thin air. People unable to pay simply said “Come and get me” whilst the more militant declared “We’re going to come and get you” and started directly confronting councils, bailiffs and the courts.By the end of 1990 the enforcement system was crumbling, magistrates were declaring “We don’t want to pass liability orders anymore” and Mrs Thatcher lost her job.

Unless the Government accepts amendments to the Local Government Finance Bill which goes before Parliament in October, 2013 will be a parallel of this situation as widespread non-payment is inevitable otherwise. This will also put up the bills for those who do pay in 2014 and so the whole system is liable to collapse and have to be reformed.

So younger people of working age are to be priced out of their homes, and no longer be able to afford to eat, just so Tory voting pensioners can enjoy their own privileges.

What is the word to describe people who parasitise their own children?

18. So Much For Subtlety

It is bizarre to me that no one is pointing out the obvious – our bloated government spends too much money. The best solution is surely for them to spend less. Taxes are too high and the money raised is too often wasted.

It isn’t about the Tories. It is about the voters allowing the Councils to get out of half of their obligations – yes, they have an obligation to provide for the poor, but they also have an obligation to do so in the most cost effective manner.

As government bloats more and more, the situation will only get worse.

They can hope all they like – but if people haven’t got the money to pay it…

Dusts off ‘Can’t pay, Won’t pay’ slogan.

Those who refuse to learn from history are ConDemed to repeat it.

20. Hugh Jarse

there is little mention of the fact disabled people under 35 have had there rent allowance slashed, a £300ppm bedsit or £400ppm flat can only get around £240ppm in housing benefit forcing disabled people to dip into there dla an food money to stay in a property or look for cheaper housing which is now nearly as dear in poor areas as the landlords know people with little or no deposit will try an bargain a deal in those areas rather than be homeless .

the results of yet more harsh cuts = more wide scale poverty, increase in thefts an petty crime , prostitution increase , acute mental health sufferers being pushed to the brink an suicides

we heard that Cheshire West and Chester Council had talked about making an offer to the local public offering a deal which made disabled an job seekers pay up to 50% of there council tax bill or the working in the area would have to pay a increased amount to cover the cost ,

you know that they would present this in a manner that
makes the working feel angry an then agree to the poor paying more

cheshire west has already approved cut backs in bus passes for the most vulnerable to save money an
that includes charging people who are disabled
full fare before half 9 just to make sure the disabled workers doing the early commute cough up a little extra as there benefits are slashed,

this also hammering the disabled people attending early interviews an traveling to looking for work

but if i go an get drunk an drive my car into a wall
an get arrested an banned i can go an get a free bus pass from Cheshire west council offices

another bum deal for disabled people

one of my friends has been plunged into really bad
times as the pressure of all the cuts an atos farce squeezes his wallet an his brain to the limit
reducing his rent payments an him having to pay towards his rent out of his dla to make up the shortfall this on top of him being under 35 an having his rent cut in half an then pinged to touch his toes an go over all his mental health issues
on the atos forms causing major distress having to relive things hes had therapy to shut out,
an not to mention them asking details of medication
which is all in his medical notes an very distressing for him to talk about.

these events combined have broken my friends will
an he has been very ill for months an fighting suicidal thoughts is ever harder with mounting pressure seemingly from every angle .

hes now in a worse state then he was in 2002 which is the last time he was in hospital for mental health issues after spending years at a time in there an returning shortly after discharge.

year on year he got better an more active after 2002 an it was amazing to see care in the community working like it should an helping him lead the happy life everyone is used too an takes for granted

well i can honestly say hes going to either be back in soon or worse an yes i blame this government an atos for not giving a toss ,

its a blanket agenda an its put the sick an most
needy at considerable risk an forced them into stressful poverty both males an females have been forced to beg an in some cases the sex trade
prostitution an pornography

what a sick world where disabled people are are forced to sell there body for money because they cant get money or a real job that’s the uk in 2012

atos is phonetic ambiguity for they don’t give a toss its blanket with no remorse .

they love to take the p1ss its not a mistake that
they allowed them to sponsor the paralympics it was totally rubbing peoples faces in it

we fund a take over in Libya for oil an contracts an then make cut backs across the board including blitzing the income an support of disabled lives an there family’s

REALLY THINK ITS ABOUT TIME THE ROYAL FAMILY AIRED THERE VIEW ON THE MATTER , THEY HAD ENOUGH TIME FOR LONDON 2012 WERE ARE THEY AS THERE DISABLED SUBJECTS FEEL THE COSH VIA A RUTHLESS FRENCH ENTITY
AN spineless con government

21. Hugh Jarse

this is even worse when you consider the people with converted flats with custom bars an ramps paid for in grants etc will have to move an have there new place kitted with the bars an toilets etc

some1 will have to foot the bill , them you an me

22. Hugh Jarse

this is even worse when you consider that people with converted flats with custom bars an ramps paid for in grants etc will have to move an have there new place kitted with the bars an toilets etc

some1 will have to foot the bill , them you an me

I became disabled after working hard all my life and gratefully receive benefit from the state. I’ve just been through the Atos assessment and now find the council want to do this. With food and energy prices rising sharply I simply don’t know how I am going to feed myself and keep my home warm if Cornwall Council are allowed to get away with their unfair and immoral proposals.
I only became aware of this issue last week and the few people that I have contact with had no idea the council were proposing this. I’m not well enough to stand up for myself, please do everything you can to publicise and fight the councils draconian proposals.
Thank you
Mike

24. margin4error

Pretty much every council in the country is looking at something along these lines. They will vary in the % they require to be paid – and they will vary in their efforts to mitigate the impact on specific groups (I know one that is planning to exempt military families and veterans).

And the reason every council is suddenly planning this is because the government is making them. They simply have no money to make up the shortfall being imposed from Whitehall.

But hey, the man from the ministry knows best – right?

I am a carer for my autistic son. I save the council money by providing care for which I am paid £58 a week in benefits. I live in a band e property, which I inherited, but still have a mortgage on. As from April I will have to find just under £11 a week. I am sick with worry about how we will cope as we can barely make ends meet now…and yet we are supposed to be being protected…by whom exactly?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Steph

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  2. Tiger

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