Council Tax: the lowest paid will be hit

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.

11 comments

  • anonymouse

    On what grounds would your case for judicial review rest? Dredging my memory back to when I did my law degree I seem to recall that the only grounds for a judiclal review are that:

    * a body has acted ultra vires – i.e. outside its powers
    * a body is bound by law to act in a certain manner and has not done so

    So how much will a judicial review cost if carried out?
    How much money will the council spend trying to find out whether they have a case?
    Where will the money come from?
    and what are the implcations if the review fails?

  • mick martyn

    my point exactly as posted on the separate thread anonymouse. Fair play to Andrew for considering this but there is cat in hells chance of anything suceeding and we will be throwing good money after bad.

  • Andrew Wallis

    Mick and anonymouse,

    I am not saying we throw money at this. Merely investigating it by using our own in-house people. Then the full council can decide on the 26th Feb if it wants to progress or not. Hence the wording of my additional recommendation. Which was supported by all but seven Councillors who voted against.

  • Fed Up!

    I love the way things like this keep being introduced. They don’t care if we struggle to pay. What happens when in the end people just don’t pay…oh yes imprisonment. Let me think, no bills to pay, no washing to do, no meals to cook…and whilst I’m inside the government have to keep my family! Wake up government…I’m sick and tired of worrying how I’m going to pay my bills, look after my family and feed us all. The benefit system constantly changing, now bedroom tax, council tax, water rates of which I buy bottled water because its vile from the tap…anything else you want to put upon us…I’m glad I have free prescriptions because you are paying for my antidepressants!

  • Andrew Wallis

    You are totally right ‘Fed-up’. The CTB is just the thin edge of a very large wedge. Councils need to fight back, or it will be too late. The Bedroom Tax is a massive worry, then next year Cornwall will have Universal Credit. All these schemes are going to have a huge impact, and not for the better either!

  • I’m extremely fed up! It’s a constant worry, should of put my name but it suited the post! Good work Andrew

  • A benefits assessor

    I’m fed up too. Can’t afford bottled water because I work and don’t receive any benefits.

    Luckily I don’t have a family to feed – not being able to support one on my wages I chose not to have one and expect everyone else to support them.

  • Dear “a benefits assessor”…when I chose to have my family I was married and my husband working, it was unfortunate that our marriage didn’t work. He does however support his children. I am also looking for work, which is on a positive note a good thing for you as I will need my benefits assessed again, therefore keeping you in a job…if that is however what you do. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for putting food in my children’s bellies, clothes on their back and to help pay the £125 it costs me in bus fares to send them to school. I will raise my children to be thankful and respect those like yourself.

  • anonymouse

    Bottler water – there is bugger all wrong with the water around here. It is better than most places in the country.

    Its the ridiculous expectations of (some) people on benefits that pisses most people off. F’king bottle water – that comment makes my blood boil.

    Living on benefits should not be an easy life and frankly you shouldn’t be able to afford luxuries.

  • A benefits assessor

    Phew. I thought I was the only one anonymouse.

  • Oh Please!

    A good blog post Andrew. It’s good to see you looking out for us all.

    Would you prefer she bought vodka rather than water?

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