Today, those of working age and in receipt of the Council Tax Benefit (CTB) will from April be required to pay 25% of their Council Tax. This has come about because the full membership of the council voted by a majority for this scheme to be implemented. That vote was carried by 55 for, 42 against.
An amendment to the proposals was tabled, which suggested the money found from the use of consultants etc to support the system in its current guise. This was defeated by 61 against and 41 for. This left only the 25% option.
It may be little comfort to those now affected by this change, but there is a ‘hardship fund’ of £1 million. However, it has not been clarified or details given as to how this scheme will be administered and the criteria to make you eligible. Which is worrying considering the impact of the changes this new CTB will have. Furthermore, this pot of money is only for one year. Which leads onto a further question; what happens after that?
There maybe a small glimmer of hope. As I blogged about previously on taking the fight to the Government and to look into the feasibility of taking the Government to court by way of a Judicial Review. My addition is:
In view of the inequitable and inappropriate nature of this cut to Council Tax Benefit which has been passed onto the Council by central government and which will have a devastating impact on some of the most vulnerable people in Cornwall, the Monitoring Officer be requested to explore fully the potential for bringing a claim for judicial review against the government in respect of this policy and that a report setting out the merits for such a claim be brought to the Council’s Budget meeting on 26 February.”
I am pleased to say my addition was carried by a large majority. In fact, so large only seven Councillors voted against this. It is always good to see this type of cross-party cooperation at work.