New Poll Tax for the Working Poor and Unemployed as Council Tax Blow Approaches.
Tories and Liberals Introduce New Poll Tax: Will We Fight Back?
Millions of the poorest households face council tax rises because most councils in England will pass on a 10% benefit funding cut, research suggests.
A typical bill will rise from April by between £100 and £250 a year, but some could rise as much as £600, the Resolution Foundation think tank says.
Millions of England’s poorest households, both in and out of work, are already very close to the edge,” said Gavin Kelly of the Resolution Foundation. “They are going to find it very hard to cope.”
Some campaigners have likened the change to the “poll tax“, in that people are asked for a contribution regardless of their ability to pay.
The Labour Party says the policy is deeply unfair, and will cause havoc with hundreds of thousands of people unable to pay the bills.
Many in local government fear that councils will be left with a financial black hole, as the cost of pursuing those who do not pay through the courts could be higher than the revenue the authorities will raise from them in tax.
The Resolution Foundation says,
Low-income families will see their council tax bills rise by up to £600 a year from April.
As a result of council tax benefit reform, No Clear Benefit shows that three-quarters of local authorities are set to demand increased payments from the 3.2 million poorest working-age households who currently pay either no council tax or a reduced charge. Families are facing a hike of more than 330 per cent in the most severe cases.
It comes as the government hands responsibility for council tax support to England’s 326 local authorities, along with a 10 per cent cut in funding for it. The government has insisted that pensioners are fully protected from any rise under the new localised system, known as council tax support, meaning that working-age households will bear the full brunt of the changes.
This is an addition to the new ‘bedroom tax’ which will hit those on Housing Benefit.
Anger about the distressing impact of coalition austerity is gaining expression, focus and pace in the UK. There have been some marches, but NHS and welfare cuts were not met with mobs surrounding Downing Street brandishing pitchforks and flaming torches. I suspect the catalyst for mass protest might be the so-called “bedroom tax“.
Do you remember the poll tax? It was a turning point in public anger at Thatcher’s Tories. The hated community charge forced the unemployed to pay a contribution, and was based on the electoral register, but met with boycotts and riots. Resistance was so strong that it turned even Margaret Thatcher’s mindset: the poll tax was replaced by the current council tax.
The bedroom tax bomb hits in April, and tenants in social housing with so-called “spare rooms” are living in fear. Despite the fact that a three-bedroom housing association flat can be cheaper than a one-bed in the private sector, the architect of this fresh misery, welfare minister, Lord Freud – who lives with his wife in an eight-bedroom country mansion – decided tenants must move, or have money deducted from their housing benefit. One-bedroom flats are rare in the social sector, and claimants, especially those with children, never top a private landlord’s wishlist.
And there is the effective cut in benefits,
“Key benefits, including jobseekers’ allowance, will rise by just 1% for the next three years, meaning a reduction in real terms.”
Let’s have a new Anti-Poll Tax Movement!