Tag Archives: Council Tax Benefit

Unemployed Essex Residents Could Now Pay More In Council Tax Than Kensington Millionaires

kensington-flatShocking details are emerging of how bungled Council Tax Benefit reforms mean that an unemployed tenant in Essex could now pay more in Council Tax than a millionaire living in a half a million pound luxury Kensington pad.

Council Tax Benefit this month became Local Council Tax Support (LCTS).  Under the new system Local Authorities can now set their own criteria for the benefit and face a cut of 10% in the amount they can allocate in Council Tax reductions to their poorest residents.  How that cut is achieved has been left largely up to them, with the sole condition they must not cut benefits for pensioners.  Most have made the decision to charge all residents, including those on benefits, low wages, disabled people and single parents, a small weekly fee towards Council Tax of between £3 and £7.

The Tory controlled Tendring Borough Council in Essex have gone one step further and made the decision that some claimants –  including many of those on the sickness and disability benefit Employment Support Allowance – will not be entitled to any Council Tax Benefit at all.

Only those who have been resident in the borough for over five years will automatically be eligible for help towards Council Tax bills should they become unable to work for any reason.  Whilst people made ‘redundant’ will be allocated some short term support (six months), along with squaddies, those fleeing domestic violence and the most severely sick or disabled people, the vast majority of recently arrived claimants will face full Council Tax rates.

This means should someone affected by the residency criteria become unemployed, or too sick to work, then they could find themselves paying more for a small Essex Band B flat (£855.75 annually) than the plush Band D two bedroom flat in fashionable Kensington & Chelsea pictured above which would come in at around £857.32.

Even those affected in Band A properties will face a bill of around £15 a week.  Tendril’s newly socially housed residents who are also hit by the bedroom tax could now see just under half of a weekly Job Seekers Allowance claim of £71.70 a week being spend on tax and rent.   For those under 25 in the same boat the situation will be even more acute, leaving claimants with around £25 a week to live on.

Life-long residents of Tendril will also not be spared if they are unable to find a job quick enough.  Anyone in the borough who has been claiming Jobseekers Allowance for over three years will now be eligible to pay 35% of their Council Tax bill.

It is likely that Tendril have spotted the impact of the mass economic expulsion of London’s poor and are sending a message that unemployed, sick or disabled people are not welcome in their part of the world.  With councils now given free reign to make life near impossible for claimants, those forced to move from London due to the benefit caps may find there is eventually nowhere left to go.  They will be joined on the road by anyone foolish enough to move to Tendril in the last five years and then found themselves out of work.

Ultimately these changes will be imposed by violence.  Claimants who refuse to leave their London homes will be physically evicted.  Claimants in Tendril who won’t or can’t pay the Council Tax bill will face prosecution and possibly prison.  In a 21st century Western democracy (stop laughing) social cleansing has no need for bullets or bayonets.   Jails, bailiffs and impossible to pay bills are the weapons of choice.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Do They Want A Riot? Here Comes the Poll Tax

poll-rax-riotYesterday was the deadline for local councils to publish details of cuts to Council Tax Benefit.  Millions of people could soon be dragged into the courts for being unable or refusing to pay the tax.

The Government has slashed funding for Council Tax Benefit by 10% but has left local authorities the power to decide how that cut is implemented.  Whilst some more affluent Councils have made the decision to absorb this cut, around three quarters will be passing on the cut to their poorest residents.

As has become typical of this toff Government, it will be low paid workers, single parents, unemployed or sick and disabled people who will suffer.

A recent report from the Resolution Foundation has found that a single parent working part time will face increases of anywhere between £3 and £12 a week depending on where they live.  Single unemployed people, or those on sickness or disability benefits in the Work Related Activity Group, could face payments of between £2 to £5 a week.

Just like the Poll Tax, this will leave local authorities pursuing people with nothing for debts that are probably more expensive to enforce than to ignore.

Iain Duncan Smith has long promised that his benefit reforms would ‘make work pay’.  This has been based on a lie that people on benefits are better off than they would be in work.  The changes to Council Tax Benefit, which the DWP has now relinquished control of, mean that any fiddling around with in-work benefits will be undermined by Council Tax bills landing on the doorstep.  All the complicated talk of Marginal Deduction Rates – which means the amount people are worse or better off by being work – was a complete waste of time when local authorities can change the goal posts anytime they choose.

The impact of this bungled and poorly thought through shambles will be devastating for those with least and could bankrupt some local councils.  With ever more draconian conditions for claiming benefits, increasing numbers of people are finding themselves locked out of social security completely.  Around half a million benefit claims were sanctioned last year.  Sanctions can now last up to three years.  Anyone leaving a job, or being sacked for misconduct, could find themselves disallowed benefits completely.

Under the new legislation they will still be liable for Council Tax however.  As has been previously pointed out, this will lead to feudal scenario under which people with no income at all could be forced to borrow money just to pay a tax for being alive.

Due to the recent housing benefit cuts most claimants are already paying out a substantial part of meagre benefits towards their rent.  When the Bedroom Tax is introduced in April almost three quarters of a  million social housing tenants will have to find on average £14 a week out of benefits towards the rent.  Claimants could see over a third of their income (just £71 a week for unemployed people)  going towards paying rent and Council Tax.

It is no secret that some claimants have debts they have to meet.  Food, fuel, transport and other costs are all soaring.  Under the upcoming welfare reforms, claimants will be expected to have broadband at home or to be able to afford expensive and insecure internet access in cyber-cafes and libraries.

David Cameron’s aides said yesterday that no-one should have to use food banks, with the genuinely nasty snipe that they are used by people who only ‘feel they need’ extra food.  The millionaires in Government are telling people living on a few pounds a day that they have no right to claim they are hungry.  Like a modern day Marie Antoinette, the effete toff in Number 10 dismisses the hunger of the poorest with the glibbest of remarks.  May he one day meet the same fate.

The ugly truth is that soon, when claimants have paid their rent, their bedroom tax, their Council Tax, their debts, their VAT (the tax even children pay), their ‘jobseeking’ costs, and the soaring payments for heat, light and water, then for many there simply won’t be any money left at all for food.

Faced with this non payment campaigns are inevitable, whether aimed at Council Tax, the bedroom tax, or both.  The choice between heating and eating is a difficult one.  The choice between eating or paying some council jobsworth a fiver a week out of paltry benefits is not so tough.  The slogan often used by anti-poll tax campaigners was Can’t Pay Won’t Pay.  Never has that been truer than today and history may yet repeat itself.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Council Tax Cuts – Protest on Oct 31st to Stop the Halloween Horror

Called by Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, Taxpayers Against Poverty, WinVisible

Worse than Thatcher! Oppose all benefit cuts and sanctions

Vigil & protest: 12.30 – 1.30pm

Wednesday 31 OCTOBER
Opposite Parliament – Lords’ entrance
Old Palace Yard, Abingdon St SW1 – Westminster tube

All welcome

On Wednesday the House of Commons will debate the Local Government Finance Bill which proposes to cut 10% of the grant local authorities receive from central government towards council tax benefits.

People now entitled to Council Tax Ben efit will be expected to pay up to 30% of their Council Tax. People already struggling on poverty-line wages and benefits, are up in arms at the prospect of yet another expense they cannot afford.

The government claims pensioners, sick and disabled people and families with young children will be exempt, but we all know that many people who should be protected, aren’t when you look closely.

This tax is on top of the housing and benefit caps, abolition of the social fund, the escalating prices of food, fuel and transport. Vulnerable people are being forced off sickness and disability benefits, mums are skipping meals so children can eat.

Opposition is growing, including in Cameron’s backyard of West Oxfordshire . They and other Councils are insisting on keeping Council Tax Ben efit. We call on all Councils to do the same! http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/aug/26/council-tax-benefits-revolt

At least 2 million more people will be forced into debt to pay these bills, and could end up with massive fines and prison, without any legal representation because of cuts to legal aid and advice services.

With the poll tax, people refused on a mass scale — we can’t let this next disaster be railroaded through. There is plenty of money for all our needs – from military budgets, bankers’ bonuses, company profits and corporate tax.

The super-rich have got richer off our impoverishment.

For more information: smsd@allwomencount.net 020 7482 2496

taxpayersagainstpovertytap@gmail.com 07961 177889

win@winvisible.org 020 7 482 2496