Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘Council Tax

New Threats to Claimants and Public Services.

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The reality of the recent cut to benefits – that is for those who got the Top Up, which did not include Legacy Claimants – is sinking in.

One thing that strikes you, and it is a long time since this writer was under 25, is the pitance single young people have to live on: £321.84 a month. You can easily pay £70 a month in gas and electricity alone (Flat). In fact that’s around what I pay. It’s a hefty chunk of any low income. My Bill, like everybody else’s, is set to rise.

Then here is this:

What is now worrying local councils is this:

Budget 2021: Local services face cuts as Sunak’s Spending Review delivers real-terms fall in council funding.

The ‘I’.

Council services such as social carebin collection, sport centres and road repairs are likely to be cut following real-term reductions in funding to councils in Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review, the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) will warn.

Analysis by the IFS shows that despite sharp rises in household council tax bills and £4.8bn of new grant funding for local authorities up until 2025, any additional revenue will be wiped out by rising costs, and councils will be forced to slash at least some essential services.

The IFS found that the expected average rise in council tax bills across all councils equates to 2.8 per cent increase each year until 2025. With the average council tax bill currently about £1,428, three consecutive years of rises would mean the average household would pay £39.92 more from next April, and £123.13 more from April 2024 than they paid this year.

These are the kind of things that do not register with people, until they are affected. Things at risk include very visible services libraries and the Citizen’s Advice bureau (in Suffolk a couple of years ago the Health Trust had to step in when the Tory Council Council halved their funding for them, except that kind of thing to happen again).

For all the claims to back public transport a look at the reality shows the reality:

Councils reacted with anger, warning that unless local authorities increase council tax bills by 3 per cent – thereby forcing a referendum in which local residents will vote on the rise – then services are likely to be cut.

Sam Chapman-Allen, chairman of the District Councils Network and Conservative leader of Breckland District Council in Norfolk said: “The Spending Review does not deliver the firm financial foundation district councils need to continue delivering essential frontline services and supporting local economies to grow. 

“We cannot see how the £4.8bn new grant funding announced by the Chancellor will come close to addressing the financial pressures district councils and the rest of local government are under.   

“Councils face a triple whammy of rising inflation, higher wage costs from the lifting of the public sector pay freeze, and continuing pressures from the impact of Covid. This leaves councils with an unpalatable choice between increasing council tax for hard-pressed local residents or cutting services that every local resident and business relies on.”

Don’t forget that people on benefits will begin again to pay Council Tax Relief/Reduction next year, which in some parts of the country is already unfairly high.

Still somebody’s happy:

Halloween Day FINAL.jpg

Written by Andrew Coates

October 31, 2021 at 6:15 pm

Abuse of Claimants, DWP Manager, “We should nominate one person to throw a grenade in.”

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Universal Credit staff taped making disgusting comments about claimants

Mirror.

EXCLUSIVE: One member of staff was recorded saying disabled people were “faking it” to get government cash

Benefits managers have been caught on tape making horrifying comments about claimants.

One advocated blowing them up with a grenade, another accused them of getting money for nothing while the disabled were accused of “faking it.”

In one disturbing taped conversation a manager says: “The police sometimes have sting operations where they gather people together.

“We should nominate one person to throw a grenade in.”

Another reveals a case manager railing at claimants, who can be out of work because of ill health.

They rant: “It does my head in. They’re getting something for nowt, they don’t really have to do a great deal to get it. And they still whinge.”

Another says they “have absolutely no time” for claimants with depression and anxiety.

 

Today the incompetent  lazy bones managers  at the DWP are shown up.

DWP Universal Credit: 700 ‘suspected errors’ flagged by one council in 18 months

Mirror.

EXCLUSIVE: Labour-run Tower Hamlets demanded the DWP halt the benefit’s rollout after compiling the figures for 18 months

More than 700 “suspected errors” in Universal Credit have been flagged in 18 months by a single town hall.

Labour-run Tower Hamlets began compiling the figures in April 2018 over fears the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was not dealing robustly enough with problems.

Since then the deprived London borough’s officers have reported 728 cases to the DWP – identifying £335,000 in alleged overpayments and £215,000 in underpayments.

Officials claimed some cases took months and several attempts to contact the DWP before they were resolved.

The Borough’s mayor John Biggs said: “The roll out of Universal Credit should be halted. It’s failing our most vulnerable residents and pushing them into hardship.

“It’s simply not good enough that these blunders continue.”

Deputy Mayor Rachel Blake added: “The continuing errors we are seeing due to Universal Credit show it’s not fit for purpose.

Not to mention the present mess find ourselves in:

This has always struck people as inevitable.

Poverty is rising for all groups – even those in work – according to a new financial inclusion monitor report.

Research from the University of Birmingham and the University of Lincoln shows nearly 1.6 million people falling behind with council tax payments, with six in ten people in the poorest fifth of the population reporting they are in problem debt – mainly council tax payments, rent or utility bills.

Nearly 1 million people are behind with their rent, while over a 1 million people are behind on water bills.

The 2019 Briefing, found that nearly 2.2 million people report having been contacted by bailiffs and nearly one million experiencing bailiffs breaking the rules.

A growing number of personal insolvencies were also highlighted, with over 70,000 Individual Voluntary Arrangements (formal alternative to bankruptcy) made in 2018, up from 40,000 in 2015.

Karen Rowlingson, Professor of Social Policy and Deputy Director of the Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM) at the University of Birmingham and co-author of the report, said: “The government is saying that austerity is over but our research shows that millions of people are still struggling to pay essential bills.

“Much more needs to be done to increase income levels to help people make ends meet.”

Electric Dog Collar Shock Coffey is on a high:

Written by Andrew Coates

October 7, 2019 at 12:42 pm

Council Tax Benefit (Support/Reduction) Messed up by Universal Credit.

Image result for eric pickles

Eric Pickles has a Laugh at Claimants.

Pre-dating the mess of Universal Credit was the decision by Blubber Guts Eric Pickles to make all benefit claimants pay a proportion of Council Tax.

In 2013 we had, this “the benefit is being replaced by a new system, council tax support, that will be run by English local authorities but with 10% less funding.

It began like this,

 

Council tax benefit cuts: the expense of getting people with no money to pay up

2013.

Unlike the “bedroom tax“, which only affects tenants of councils and housing associations, changes to council tax benefits from April will also affect owner-occupiers and private tenants. It is currently claimed by 5.9 million recipients and is the most widely claimed means-tested benefit. Local authorities have been asked by the government to replace council tax benefit with new local schemes that reduce the amount of council tax relief councils can pay out.

 

Some have opted to protect the 100% council tax benefit that poorer residents who live in property in a low council tax band currently receive. Instead they are reducing the amount of benefit for people living in higher council tax band properties. Other councils have chosen to spread the cuts equally, opting for a maximum 90% rebate for everyone. In this case, people on the minimum income possible to survive will from April have to use their meagre income to pay 10% of their total council tax.

This was the result,

Eric Pickles and David Cameron handed local authorities the power to administer council tax benefit, then cut the budget by 10%, resulting in the number of households in council tax arrears to increase by 45%.

It soon developed: – and it is rare to find anywhere which has a 100% reduction today as the name “Council Tax Reduction (sometimes called Council Tax Support)”  indicates.

Though there is this example (July 2019):

Some low income residents in South Ribble might not have to make a minimum contribution towards their council tax bills from next year.

South Ribble Borough Council is set to launch a public consultation on a proposal to scrap the so-called council tax support scheme, which means all working-age households pay a flat rate of £3.50 per week – even if their income level entitles them to help to cover the rest of the bill.

Now we have this, proving that if there’s one thing Universal Credit is good for, it’s making things worse.

DWP: Why Universal Credit is causing ‘one big headache’ over changes to council tax

Teesside Live.

Residents are being hit with different levels of bills due to complications caused by Universal Credit

Universal Credit is increasing the burden on struggling staff at a Teesside authority and leaving residents confused, due to its effect on council tax, a meeting heard.

Stockton Council has launched a six-month review into its council tax support scheme.

It does not take much to see that this must be happening across the country.

About 11,000 people receive council tax support in the borough and everyone of working age gets at least 20% of their bills.

But Julie Auffret, the council’s revenues and benefit services manager, has revealed how Universal Credit had hit both customers and council staff in how they dealt with council tax.

She told a meeting of the council’s place select committee that the introduction of Universal Credit was leasing to confusion and stress.

She said: “What it creates for us is complications which perhaps didn’t exist when we were dealing with housing benefit and council tax benefit ourselves.

“It meant we could calculate benefits at the same time – now that has been split, it has complicated it and makes it a slightly lengthier calculation than it used to be.”

Universal Credit rolled six benefits into one and was introduced in Stockton a year ago.

But the benefits manager explained month-on-month adjustments to Universal Credit had meant the council had to keep recalculating its own council tax support.

Ms Auffret said: “For us that’s becoming quite a significant administrative burden – and for customers it’s becoming difficult for them to understand why their council tax support is being recalculated repeatedly and why they’re getting lots of bills.

“We’d really like to explore a different way of doing things to make it simpler.”

Changes were made to the council tax system in 2013 when the Government abolished council tax benefit and told local authorities to form their own support schemes.

Stockton runs a “work incentive” programme designed to offer those on low incomes a boost from their wages.

But a review is being considered given the impacts of Universal Credit.

This was all so obvious…

Plus, the fact that we have had to pay this tax, without any corresponding increase in benefits, was another part of the great reduction in our basic living standard this lot of thieves introduced.

Johnson, and his mates, have no plans to change this unjust council tax regime.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 12, 2019 at 5:07 pm

Compulsory Employment “Schemes” for Jobseeker’s Claiming Council Tax Support.

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Is Workfare For Council Tax Support part of the new Austerity Agenda?

Council Tax support is falling apart.

This affects people on Job Seeker’s Allowance, and now, Universal Credit,.

Hard.

You can expect a great deal of thieving from Tory Councils.

Barnet led the way:

Everyone of working age has to pay a minimum contribution of 20% from 01 April 2015 (the contribution for the period 01 April 2013 to 31 March 2015 will remain at 8.5% as agreed in January 2013) of their Council Tax liability unless they are in a protected group. (War pensioners, war widow(er)s and people who receive Armed Forces compensation scheme payments will not have to pay the minimum contribution).

This 20% rule is pretty widespread now.

A hefty sum, around £287.8 a year (National average, band D,  Band D property to £1,439).

In Labour run Ipswich, by contrast,

In Ipswich, all people of working age have to pay at least 8.5% of their Council Tax bill, regardless of their income. From 1st April 2018, this will reduce to 5%.

But now we learn Leeds Labour Council is running this compulsory scheme.

Personal work support programme

If you are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and have been claiming Council Tax support for 26 weeks or more, you will be offered a place on the personal work support programme.

You will have to complete this programme to keep receiving Council Tax support unless you’re part of one of the exempt or protected groups (PDF 1.2MB)​​.

You will be required to complete five review appointments with one of our employment advisors who are able to support all aspects of looking for work which includes:

  • Help to update your CV
  • Advice and support for applying for vacancies online
  • Advice on how to find the type of work you are looking for
  • The latest job vacancy information
  • Free access to our computers
  • Help with any health, money, benefit or housing concerns that you may have

To book an appointment with an advisor, please call 0113 222 4404.

You can find further information on the package of support available in our Council Tax Support for Jobseekers leaflet (PDF 223KB)​​.

Ipswich Unemployed Action has been informed that there are other councils, some Tory, who have similar schemes.

Some, it is said, involve workfare.

In the opinion of a professional Welfare Adviser this is not legal

Written by Andrew Coates

February 23, 2018 at 3:43 pm

Government Claimant Survey and Universal Credit Review Attacked.

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Happy Shiny People Like Universal Credit!

Here is a brilliant look at how the government gets its sense of self-statisfaction,

A critique of the recent government survey of peoples’ “satisfaction” with the DWP. Conservatives have been eager to cite this survey but it is flawed. The biggest flaw is that only people with an open claim who had interacted within a 3 month timescale with the DWP were included in the sample. Those whose claim had been disallowed were excluded. Yet those were the people most likely to register dissatisfaction. Because of sampling bias, which was intentional – no generalisations or inferences may be taken from the survey results. In other words, it serves only as a PR exercise for the DWP.

A critique of the government’s claimant satisfaction survey. Written by Kitty S Jones.

The Department for Work and Pensions Claimant Service and Experience Survey (CSES) is described as “an ongoing cross-sectional study with quarterly bursts of interviewing. The survey is designed to monitor customers’ satisfaction with the service offered by DWP and enable customer views to be fed into operational and policy development.”

The survey measures levels of satisfaction in a defined group of “customers” who have had contact with the Department for Work and Pensions within a three-month period prior to the survey. One problem is that satisfaction is an elusive concept, not easily definable, accessible or open to quantitative measurement.

Who carried out this well-rewarded task?

The research was commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions and conducted by Kantar Public UK – who undertake marketing research, social surveys, and also specialise in consultancy, public opinion data, policy and also economy polling, with, it seems, multi-tasking fingers in several other lucrative pies.

I won’t give all Kitty’s post, which should be read in full, but this strikes the eye,

The Government says: “This research monitors claimants’ satisfaction with DWP services and ensures their views are considered in operational and policy planning.”

It doesn’t include those claimants whose benefit support has been disallowed. There is considerable controversy around disability benefit award decisions (and sanctioning) in particular, yet the survey does not address this important issue, since those most impacted negatively are excluded from the survey sample. We know that there is a problem with the PIP and ESA benefits award decision-making processes, since a significant proportion of those people who go on to appeal DWP decisions are subsequently awarded their benefit.

You get the impression this is the same method behind this pile of cack – don’t include losers and critics.

Universal credit project review full of ‘gobbledegook’, says Commons committee

The Independent.

‘They have produced no evidence to back up the key, central economic assumption of the biggest reform to our welfare system in 50 years. William Beveridge will be rolling in his grave’

The universal credit project review is full of “management gobbledegook” with ministers failing to make a full business case for the rollout of the Government’s flagship welfare reform, an influential Commons committee has warned.

Frank Field, who chairs the Work and Pensions Committee, said the architect of welfare state, William Beveridge, “will be rolling in his grave” at the failure to produce evidence to back up the key economic assumption of universal credit.

He said people are being expected to take it on good faith that the contentious overhaul of the welfare in Britain will deliver.

After examining internal project assessment reviews of the universal credit programme’s finances and delivery by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA), the committee expressed concerns about the situation.

While MPs said it was to the department’s credit that it brought universal credit back from the “brink of complete failure” in 2013, they said it continues to face major challenges.

Mr Field said that perhaps the most damning point emerging from the assessment of the Government’s progress on universal credit is that in its eighth year of the programme, the department itself “is yet to produce the full business case for its own mega reform”.

The world is waiting for Esther McVey’s response…

Opps, another problem popped up today: