Abolition of the national council tax benefit

The Government is abolishing the national Council Tax Benefit scheme and councils are required to replace it with their own local schemes that are based on the needs of the people living in each borough.  The reform has meant the amount of money available to councils has been reduced by around 10%.

This is very crafty politically.  People would welcome savings on benefit payments and may think this a good idea from government. But the government requires local authorities to decide which vulnerable groups will benefit from the reduced support and will be blamed for the decisions.  The reduced funding means that Brent has to make some difficult decisions about who gets financial support and how much.  Pensioners should see no change but everyone else entitled to council tax benefit will potentially be affected. Brent residents are expected to be badly affected.

The proposals include all but the most vulnerable working age claimants paying a minimum council tax contribution; encouraging those in work by increasing the amount of earnings they can keep before reducing their benefit; reducing the amount of savings allowed when claiming support; and where there are other adults in a claimant’s household, they contribute more.
Consultation on how Brent responds to the changes will run from 11th June to 10th August 2013.

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