Council protecting low paid from council tax hikes
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Communities, Finance, Housing
Council Tax Bill
A council has confirmed that it will protect its low income residents from the higher council tax bills that are due as part of the Government's welfare changes.
Finance chiefs at Wandsworth Council have decided to cushion the blow to the poorest families in the Borough, by sparing them a potential £580,000 tax hike from April onwards.
The Government has announced a 10% cut in the funding it gives local authorities to help poorer families with their council tax bills.
But the council has decided to pick up the cost itself by maintaining the existing system.
A recent council report stated: "In an environment of welfare reform where households have already seen the level of housing benefit reduce and with further welfare reforms proposed, it is difficult to envisage householders seeing council tax as a priority debt above rent and other household essentials."
The Borough's council tax charges are the lowest in the country, with its Band D bill currently £682, compared to a London average of over £1,300.
Finance spokesman Cllr Guy Senior said: "In many other parts of the country, people on low incomes will soon find themselves having to pay council tax for the first time.
"While the sums involved may be modest, to many households this will be an added burden they will struggle to afford.
"Here in Wandsworth, we want to do what we can to protect the low income families who are already struggling to pay their bills.
"With our long record as a low tax authority we do not wish to start increasing the tax burden for those least able to afford it."