Taxing times for the jobless
Leighton’s jobless face using dole money to pay some of their council tax bill under a scheme which would see thousands of people’s benefit cut.
Under the Central Beds Council proposals, the unemployed, who currently have their entire council tax paid for them will have to find at least 25 per cent of the total.
In a move which aims to encourage people back into work, people on low incomes, people living with a second adult on a low income, plus working and unemployed single parents with children, will also have to start making a contribution, or pay more than they currently do.
But pensioners and the disabled would be protected from the changes which are being considered as a way of finding the £2.5m that is being lost by Central Beds Council as the Government cuts 14 per cent of the funding given to support council tax payers.
As it stands, the Government give 100 per cent of the costs of Council Tax Benefit (CTB) to Central Beds’ 17,000 existing claimants – but not for long as plans to adjust the welfare benefits system includes abolishing the current scheme.
The proposal, which has promoted some concerns from Leighton’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau, will mean current recipients of some benefits will have to make a minimum of a 25 per cent contribution to their council tax in the future.
Other people who may be affected include residents who already have a discount in the council tax bills or those who are exempt from paying anything who have second homes, empty properties, or repossessed properties.
Councils across the country will have to develop their own scheme and Central Bedfordshire Council say they will be consulting with vulnerable groups, existing claimants and others over a 12-week period to hear people’s views and determine a proposed scheme.
The deadline for responses will be November 14 and the feedback will be included in the development of the final Council Tax Scheme to be presented to the Central Beds Executive in January 2013, ready to be operating in April.
Central Beds say their proposed scheme is based on four key principles that mean it will be affordable so that council tax payers and services don’t suffer; require people to make a fair contribution, so those who can pay, should pay; encourage people to earn a living by giving them an incentive to work; and protect the most vulnerable.
Pensioners on low incomes, which is around half of the 17,000 residents receiving Council Tax Benefit, will be protected from any change.
For the full story see the October 2 issue of the LBO
> What do you think of the proposal? Send your views to email@example.com
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Weather for Leighton Buzzard
Saturday 25 May 2013
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