Council Tax Support – Bore’s Poll Tax?

Birmingham’s Labour Councillors voted unanimously to pass on a £200+ charge to social security claimants living in the city at January’s Council meeting. Claimants will be charged 20% of the cost of their Council Tax from 1st April. For a claimant living in a Band C property this will be the equivalent of £5.17 a week. Pensioners are exempted from these changes.

The localisation of Council Tax support is part of the package of the Government’s welfare reforms and represents a £470m saving to the Treasury and financial hit to claimants. The implementation of this cut has been handed on to local councils who are being required to introduce local Council Tax support arrangements following the abolition of Council Tax benefit.

The 10% cut in total funding of the scheme is intended to force each Council to decide how much to pass onto claimants and what to fund from Council coffers. In Birmingham’s case the 10% cut in funding equates to £11.08m.

The final proposal agreed at Council has been modified to introduce additional financial protection to people in receipt of Carer’s premium and claimants in receipt of Employment Support Allowance and who are also in receipt of a disability benefit. It includes provision of a £1m hardship fund. The Council is subsidising the local Council Tax support with £300k from its own funds.

Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader, informed the Council meeting that it had been decided not to apply for transitional funding from the Government, which would have allowed it to have delayed implementation for 12 months, on the grounds that it would result in an additional cost of £1.3m to the Council’s budget in 2014-15 and require additional cuts.

The debate in the Council meeting centred on two motions moved by the opposition Liberal Democrats and Conservatives Groups respectively, they both charged that the Labour Group should have accepted the transitional relief and questioned the practicalities of enforcing and collecting the charge from low income families.

The guillotining of the debate only allowed the movers and seconders of the motions to speak and provided a right of reply by the Deputy Leader. No Labour Councillors spoke in the debate but voted as a block against the opposition motions to accept the Cabinet proposal.

The Council has conservatively estimated that up to 20% of claimants won’t pay but research reported in The Guardian that many Council’s expect the non-payment rate to be 50%. The administration of the enforcement of this scheme will be massive headache for the City Council and is only likely to make the Cities debt collection agency and Bailiffs rich.

While 20 miles down the A45 in Coventry, the Labour Council is proposing to replicate the current Council Tax Benefit scheme and to protect its poorest residents from this 10% top slice. It decided not to pass on the charge on the grounds that it ‘ would place significant financial pressures on low-income households, many of whom will be impacted adversely by other changes to the welfare system. The Council would then have to collect council tax from low-income households which would be costly and resource-intensive.’ (pdf)

In Birmingham this 20% charge coincides with cuts to Housing Benefit and Child Benefit on 1st April. This continuing attack on the living standards of claimants will lead claimants to the simple choice of: Can’t Pay Won’t Pay!

Advertisements

17 Comments

Filed under Birmingham City Council, Cuts

17 responses to “Council Tax Support – Bore’s Poll Tax?

  1. Pingback: Birmingham Trades Council » Council Tax Support – Bore’s Poll Tax?

  2. Pingback: Albert Bore’s Poll Tax? « Representing the Mambo

  3. Fearless Jones

    The fund for Council Tax Benefit will be cut by a further 8.5 per cent next year, meaning a total cut of 18.5 per cent.
    http://www.newstatesman.com/staggers/2013/01/poll-tax-ii-coalition-plans-even-bigger-cuts-council-tax-benefit

  4. Is their likely to be a movement which officially encourages already hard-pushed unemployed people to refuse to pay this 20% towards Council Tax charges along the “Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay!” line?

  5. Pingback: “It’s Time To Shut The City Down” – Packed Meeting Vows To Fight Council Cuts | Birmingham Against The Cuts

  6. Pingback: Demonstration and Occupation Greets Labour Councillors Meeting To Discuss Cuts In Liverpool | Birmingham Against The Cuts

  7. Pingback: More Benefit Cuts Voted Through Yesterday – Benefits Uprating Bill | Birmingham Against The Cuts

  8. Pingback: Labour Should Defy The Tory Cuts – Demonstrate 4th Feb | Birmingham Against The Cuts

  9. Pingback: Austerity Means The Rich Get Richer Whilst The Rest Of Us Suffer | Birmingham Against The Cuts

  10. Pingback: It’s Time To Shut The City Down – Day Of Action Against Council Cuts, 26th February | Birmingham Against The Cuts

  11. Pingback: A Choice Between Birmingham’s Millions and Birmingham’s Millionaires: Public Meeting, 25th Feb | Birmingham Against The Cuts

  12. Pingback: Why Your Council Tax Bill Has Gone Up | Birmingham Against The Cuts

  13. Pingback: So Sneaky – Council Tax And Disability In Birmingham | Birmingham Against The Cuts

  14. Pingback: PCS Strikes – 5th and 8th April | Birmingham Against The Cuts

  15. Pingback: April 6th: Tax Cut For The Richest, Tax Increase For The Poorest | Birmingham Against The Cuts

  16. Pingback: Labour Get Extra Funding To Increase Council Tax Benefit | Birmingham Against The Cuts

  17. Pingback: Bedroom Tax: Three Birmingham Councillors Pledge To Stand With Constituents Against Bailiffs | Birmingham Against The Cuts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s