Tag Archives: council tax

Labour Get Extra Funding To Increase Council Tax Benefit

Back in January, when Labour announced how they were going to deal with the localisation of Council Tax Benefit (now called Council Tax Support) and the 10% cut in funding that came with it, they decided to impose 20% charges on all unemployed and some disabled people in the city, whilst neighbouring councils absorbed the cut into their budgets, possibly in expectation that 84% of people would be unable to pay the charge and that court action would be financially unviable. Strangely, having cut the amount of benefit being paid, the coalition offered some transitional funding worth £2.1m for one year to reduce the amount cut. At the time, the Labour council here turned this down due to the conditions attached to accepting the money.

Yesterday however it was announced that Labour have now decided to accept this money, reducing the charge from 20% to 8.5%. This is an excellent move by the council, even though the money is only for one year, it provides breathing space for claimants who are already struggling with food, rent and energy price rises, a real terms benefit cut and for many the bedroom tax as well.

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Why Your Council Tax Bill Has Gone Up

Birmingham 2013/14 Council Tax AmountsPeople in Birmingham are receiving their new council tax bill for 2013/14 at the moment, and it has gone up, but with no explanation as to why. A close look shows that the increase is not coming from Birmingham City Council, who chose to freeze council tax this year, but from the Fire Service and Police Service. Some people are also finding that they will be paying 20% of their council tax as Council Tax Benefit is cut and changed to Council Tax Support.

What hasn’t come with the bill is an explanation as to why these rises are happening. West Midlands Fire Service, faced with 29% cuts in funding from central government over two years has chosen to increase their income from council tax rather than closing fire stations and downgrading those that remain open. The police are also facing cuts, though their 3% rise is more in line with inflation rather than a deliberate move to protect their service and your lives as the Fire Service have done.

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Filed under Birmingham City Council