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'Low earners will suffer' as tax discounts are cancelled

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 24, 2013

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Cornwall Council leaders have been accused of ignoring the wishes of members after passing recommendations to make all householders pay at least 25% in council tax including the poorest.

Yesterday, Cornwall's cabinet members voted unanimously in favour of bringing in a local council tax benefit scheme after the Government ceases running the national system on April 1.

Last week during a full council meeting at County Hall, Truro, members voted to knock back the proposal to pass on the Government cut to the 20,000 people of working age claiming the benefit, with members arguing the least well-off would suffer. Council officers then drew-up options where the £4.2 million needed to continue giving council tax discounts at current levels.

On Tuesday a list of services where cuts could be made to meet the cost was released, including libraries, the withdrawal of funding for tourism and rises in some social care services.

Yesterday, the rejected proposal came back to cabinet with an additional £130,000 to pay for the Citizen Advice Bureau to help residents who may struggle to pay the 25% and are in debt.

Following the vote, Alex Folkes, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said he believed cuts could have been made elsewhere to fund the local scheme.

He said: "I'm disappointed but not surprised with how the cabinet voted. Bearing in mind what happened last week they have ignored the will of the full council.

"Cuts have to be made – we know that.

"But there are other areas they should be looking at. "People on the lowest incomes will on average be faced with a council tax bill of £274 which is unacceptable."

Over the next four years the council has to make £170 million worth of savings after the Government announced a major squeeze on funding.

Before the vote yesterday, cabinet members took turns arguing why their particular department could not afford to take a further hit.

All said they were unhappy bringing in the minimum 25% levy, adding tough choices had to be made.

Lance Kennedy, portfolio holder for community safety, public protection and waste management, said: "I'm certainly not comfortable making these cuts but they are beyond our control.

"Central Government want it but we have to implement it."

Bert Biscoe, portfolio holder for transportation, highways and environment, said: "We are where we don't want to be. We are being drawn towards and inevitable conclusion."

The recommendation goes back to full council on January 29 for approval.

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24 comments

  • not_convinced  |  January 24 2013, 10:40PM

    How about not bickering among yourselves and asking the question if its such a good idea why do the council need the help of citizens advice? How about saving money on twinning trips and not picking on the unemployed as the saying goes there but for the grace of god go I, the same applies to disability if they are so affluent why is MacMillan having to pay out so many heating grants in Cornwall?

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  • nickthompson  |  January 24 2013, 8:02PM

    jadedoldie: How sad, I am not politicking as you call it, I am merely pointing out facts,the headline above reads -------'Low earners will suffer' as tax discounts are cancelled------------ and then point out that the NASTY PARTY have just given millionaires a £42,000 a year tax cut, but never mind,the cuts being made to the disabled will help i'm sure.

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  • ShahrukhFan  |  January 24 2013, 6:54PM

    jadedoldie If my comment was not deserving of an answer, why respond??

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  • jadedoldie  |  January 24 2013, 6:48PM

    nickthompson, no mention of the nasty party in this latest post then, no, let's fall back on the poor pensioner angle to continue politicking. Believe you me, no-one understands the plight of those on a meagre fixed income better than I, but I bitterly resent being a political football trotted out for the sole purpose of point scoring.

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  • nickthompson  |  January 24 2013, 6:31PM

    jadedoldie: You think I am picking on someone by expressing my opinion do you? ------------- Certainly not,what I am trying to say (probobly badly) is that when I read in a newspaper that Mr + + + + + has awarded himself a 3 million pound bonus on top of his £340,000 salary,and on turning the page I read that over 730 deaths of our senior citizens are expected this Winter caused by Hypothermia because they cannot afford to heat their rooms I believe something is terribly wrong,if you believe that this situation is OK ,fine,you are welcome to your opinion,but I,and I suspect many thousands would not.

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  • jadedoldie  |  January 24 2013, 6:05PM

    I'm sorry, but your comment is not deserving of an answer, draining the system indeed, we invented the system, goodnight and goodbye!

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  • ShahrukhFan  |  January 24 2013, 5:25PM

    I am a manic depressive and optimism is something that is difficult for me!! My daughter has seen for herself how rude the elderly can be. A lady told me off in front of her once for eating some chips, which then upset her. So can you explain how I am supposed to tell her why my house always is cold!! That the elderly are draining the system!The only elderly person who showed me respect was my late grandmother. Who herself worried when I was young what the future held for me. So why should I show respect when I am not shown any in return. You all think youngsters are better off, believe me we are not!!

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  • jadedoldie  |  January 24 2013, 5:05PM

    ShahrukhFan, your self pity does nothing for your cause, we all have our own problems, please recognise that others suffer too. As you rightly say your children are the future, perhaps you should be concentrating on giving them a more empathetic outlook than the one you have.

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  • ShahrukhFan  |  January 24 2013, 4:59PM

    jadedoldie I think you have misunderstood what I am getting at! As you put it my disdain for the elderly stems from being treated with a lack of respect from the elderly where I live. Who are quick enough to judge me on my size, when they know nothing about me. They tend to be very rude and constantly say I am big, or look at her blah blah blah! Shall I continue? I merely believe that if us "youngsters" should have our benefits cut and be made to contribute a percentage of our council tax then I feel that ALL should be made to contribute. My children are the future and there doesn't seem to be a future for them!!

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  • jadedoldie  |  January 24 2013, 4:12PM

    nickthompson. You think I am picking on someone by expressing my opinion do you? I do not usually reply to people who use any miserable situation to carry on politicking, as I find it tasteless, but please do not regurgitate your badly digested pamphlets at me!

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