The coalition's changes to council tax benefits will "invariably push more people into poverty or deeper into poverty", according to a report out today by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
The coalition’s changes to council tax benefits will “invariably push more people into poverty or deeper into poverty“, according to a report out today by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Changes to council tax will affect poorer households and 2.4 million low-income families will pay on average £138 more in council tax in the year 2013/14, the report says.
In April 2013 the national system of CTB will be abolished and replaced with local systems of Council Tax Support (CTS). The funding for CTS in 2013/14 will be 10 per cent less than CTB.
It also says that the replacement of Council Tax Benefit (CTB) with Council Tax Support (CTS) will “add complexity and reduce transparency“.
The study found that:
- In the year beginning April 2013, 18 per cent of councils will retain the 2012/13 levels of CTB and 71 per cent will require all working-age adults to pay at least some council tax, regardless of income. 11 per cent will make some changes but these will not affect all CTB recipients.
- Some 2.4 million low-income families will pay on average £138 more in council tax in the year 2013/14.
- 78 per cent of those affected by the changes currently pay no council tax. Councils will have to start collecting, on average, £140 per year from these households. It is unclear how economical this will be for councils.
- 2 million working-age CTB claimants are in poverty, and a further half million just above it. An increase in council tax would leave them with even less disposable income.
- The replacement of CTB with CTS marks a historic move to 326 different local schemes in England. It will be a curious system when a jobseeker with a state-provided income of £71.70 per week pays some council tax in some parts of the country, but is considered too poor to pay in others.
Furthermore it says, “it is unclear how economical it will be for councils to pursue large numbers of low income families for limited sums of money”.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.