Council Tax Reduction scheme 2016-17
Brighton & Hove City Council proposals mean much higher bills for people on benefit
Before 2013, Council Tax Benefit covered the cost of council tax for people on some benefits. This was in recognition that, if you qualify for certain means tested benefits, you can’t afford to pay council tax.
Council Tax Benefit was abolished by the government in 2013, and replaced with a council run scheme called “Council Tax Reduction Scheme”. Since then, the amount of help the poorest households in Brighton & Hove can get with their council tax bills has been cut from 100% to 85%.
The council are now proposing another cut in this help – so that it will only cover 75% of the full council tax bill. Some people will therefore see their council tax bills go up by 67% from April 2016. This is despite the fact that, in real terms, benefits are worth less than they were in 2012, so people are actually less able to pay, not more.
From April 2016, life for people on benefits will get even harder, because the government are freezing all working age benefits and making big cuts to tax credits. The council’s proposal will mean yet another blow for these very same households.
This is deeply unfair. It will increase poverty and push people into debt. It is also not a sensible way for the council to raise money.
The amount the council is owed in unpaid council tax has already increased substantially because they are asking people to pay who are simply unable to afford to do so. Trying to plug a funding gap by billing people who can’t pay the bill is not just unfair and unethical but impractical, and will lead to the council spending yet more on chasing debts. It will also put people under even more stress and strain, which is likely to lead to even more pressure on local services, such as mental health services.
PUBLIC MEETING: NO MORE CUTS TO COUNCIL TAX REDUCTION
Thursday 12th November
Synergy Centre West Street (opposite the Odeon)
Called by Brighton People’s Assembly against Austerity, Brighton & Hove Green Party, Brighton & Hove Left Unity, Brighton Benefits Campaign, CASE Central
Join us to hear first hand what this will mean for people in Brighton & Hove, and to share your story. Speakers (details to come) and discussion.
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