'Repellent' scheme to replace council tax benefit passed
MORE than 26,000 residents in Nottingham will be affected by plans to abolish council tax benefit from April.
City residents who currently receive 100 per cent discount on council tax will have to pay 8.5 per cent of their bill under the new scheme, which is being rolled out by Nottingham City Council.
However, this could increase to 20 per cent from April 2014.
The Government is axing council tax benefit and instead asking councils to provide support schemes of their own – but with 10 per cent less cash.
Dyson DC50i - Bagless upright vacuum cleaner - BALL Technology -...View details
Thisi is Dyson's smallest upright vacuum cleaner with the performance of a full size upright machine. The DC50i has Dyson's most advanced cleaner head technology and 2 Tier RadialTM cyclones.
Terms: LIMITED STOCK OFFER. FREE delivery to most UK postcodes - Next working day dispatch.
Contact: 01664 491439
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
The new scheme was unanimously passed at the full council meeting yesterday, albeit reluctantly.
Deputy leader Councillor Graham Chapman said: "How on earth did we get here – where we as a council are having to implement a measure that the vast majority of councillors feel is repellent?"
He added: "We as a council have done our upmost to reduce the damage. This is the best we can do in the circumstances because of cuts to our overall budget. It's complex, it's messy, it's expensive and it smacks of the poll tax."
If the council were to continue paying council tax benefit at existing rates, it would cost £6.1 million, which it said it could not afford. The scheme will still leave the council with a cash shortfall but it will make this up through various funding streams.
It expects to receive a one-off grant from the Government worth £775,000 for 2013-14 and will generate up to £2.6 million by removing council tax discount on empty homes. It will pay £1 million from its reserves for the scheme, and police and fire authorities will also contribute.
The grant is not available after 2013-14, so the council may have to enforce plans it originally drew up, which would see everyone paying a minimum of 20 per cent council tax.
Pensioners are exempt from all changes.
Martyn Neal, of Advice Nottingham, a not-for-profit organisation that supports advice services across the city, said the proposals would have a big impact on the lowest earners.
He said: "Even as little as £2 or £3 a week will be a huge burden to them."
He added that half of the 26,500 working-age people in the city affected had children, which could increase the number of children living in poverty. The proposals were supported by both Labour and Conservative councillors.