New Poll Tax on the Unemployed.
Universal Credit will be introduced over the next few years.
As part of the change Council Tax Benefit (CTB) will be abolished.
Local Council Tax Support will be introduced in April 2013.
Catherine West (Labour, Islington Council) writes,l
Next April, when high income earners start to benefit from the Tory–led government’s cut to the 50p tax rate, millions of people with the lowest incomes in the country will receive council tax bills they cannot afford to pay because of the government’s changes to Council tax benefit.
5.9 million low-income households benefit from council tax benefit – more than any other means-tested benefit in the United Kingdom. It was brought in after the Poll Tax as a government subsidy to councils so they would not collect council tax from people who simply could not afford to pay it.
The Tory–led government announced plans to scrap council tax benefit earlier this year. Their plan is simply to cut the funding councils receive by 10% and ask local Councils to develop their own local scheme to collect the Council tax required to make up the difference.
People of ‘working age’ on Job Seeker’s Allowance will no longer get the present 100% reduction. Others at present exempt will also be affected.
Instead out of their weekly £71 (over 25s), £71 (under 25s) and £11.45 (couples) they will have to pay a percentage of the local Council Tax.
Each local council is being told to introduce its own tax rates to deal with a 10% cut in their national funding. This will mean councils having to choose between giving people Council Tax benefits or cutting public services.
Each Council has to ‘consult’ about their plans. This is ‘localism’, part of the ‘Big Society’ agenda.
Local politics will play a big part.
Well-off Councils will be able to off-load the cuts; poor areas will be under intense pressure.
Tory Croydon plans to introduce a Poll tax on students and the unemployed.
Conservative Bromley Council proposes that everybody pays at least 25% of the bill. For those on benefits this could mean at least £250 a year.
Labour Manchester says everybody will have to pay something, but the charges will be made “as fairly as possible.”
Ipswich plans to use every means possible to keep the charge low, perhaps down below 3% of the total.
Other parts of Suffolk are more likely to follow Bromley’s example.
It is probable that nobody who is on allowances for disabled will have to pay.
Pensioners will be protected. The Government states, ‘the elderly cannot go back to work. They have saved and worked hard all their lives: they deserve dignity and security.”
Tony Benson (The New Poll Tax. Labour Briefing October 2012), says, “This is a back-handed acknowledgment that proposals for working age people do not give people dignity of security.”
It’s the out-of-work who will be the principal target.
The new Poll Tax will be hard to collect. But no doubt As will the private companies used by many councils will do well out of this.
People on JSA have little money as it is.
They will have less in real terms in coming years as the Government intends to freeze benefits. Another Bill will push many into arrears.
We will see Bailiffs in action against the poor and vulnerable.
Pawn-brokers and loan-sharks, legal or illegal, will do good business.
The new Poll Tax is a recipe for misery.