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Poorest face increase in council tax of up to 30 per cent

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 08, 2012

This has been forced upon us’ - Plymouth City Councillor Mark Lowry

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More than 150,000 of the poorest Westcountry households face a council tax rise next year, following welfare reforms.

A number of Devon authorities have published proposals to effectively end the 100 per cent council tax discount for hard-pressed families.

All residents – barring pensioners, who remain unaffected – will pay at least 25% or 30% of their bill from April if plans put out for consultation by ten councils go ahead.

Labour has warned of a repeat of the poll tax, with councils "forced to chase people on low incomes for money they simply don't have". But the Government says it is ending Labour's "something-for-nothing culture" by reducing hand-outs.

The proposals follow a 10% Government cut to rebates available to councils, and giving local authorities control of council tax benefits for the first time. The cut means that even small authorities will have an annual black hole of around £1 million to fill.

In the past, the unemployed, disabled, full-time carers and people on low incomes would not have had to pay their full council tax. Now a £1,000 annual bill will mean paying at least £300 if councils decide the maximum rebate is 70%.

Households receiving a partial discount will also pay more under the new regime.

Councils have started to set out their own council tax support schemes. Plymouth City Council has a £2 million shortfall, and has proposed everyone pays at least 30% of the bill.

Coun Mark Lowry, Cabinet member for finance of the Labour-controlled authority, said: "The Government's welfare reform is going to hit Plymouth really hard and targets people on low incomes. This is not something we choose to do, but something that is forced upon us and every council nationally."

Meanwhile, Torbay Council is proposing charging everyone at least 25%. Cornwall Council's proposals will be made public at its next Cabinet meeting. East Devon, Exeter, North Devon, South Hams and Torridge district councils are suggesting a 30% charge, and Mid Devon, Teignbridge and West Devon districts 25%.

Coun Philip Sanders, Conservative leader of West Devon Borough Council, said: "The shortage in funding means that we will have to make some difficult decisions about who gets financial help and how much they get."

Liberal Democrat leader of North Devon Council, Coun Brian Greenslade, said: "Working-age people can expect to see a reduction in their council tax support next year."

Latest Government figures show 157,000 people in Devon and Cornwall claim council tax benefit. Hilary Benn, Labour's shadow secretary for communities and local government, said the 10% cut amounted to a £450 million "council tax bombshell".

He said: "Local authorities face a terrible dilemma. Do they increase council taxes on the working poor, or the disabled, or families with young children?"

But local government minister Grant Shapps said: "Our reforms will localise council tax support and give councils stronger incentives to support local firms, cut fraud, promote local enterprise and get people off the dole."

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  • Bod66  |  August 13 2012, 10:21AM

    Well thats interesting, MickMoo`s egg on face comment has disapeared, do you have admin priviliges to the website perchance.

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  • Bod66  |  August 13 2012, 9:49AM

    Lol at MickMoo, youv`e just had a pop back o.O

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  • omnivore23  |  August 13 2012, 7:23AM

    I don't need to know you to disagree with what you say Karen. You say stuff online - people respond to what you say that's how it works isn't it? And that doesn't mean im a chauvinist - it means I disagree with you. If you don't fail to see the irony in accusing me of making wild illogical arguments before going off on some bizarre rant about post office vans and fascist sympathizes then you really have lost the plot. You know the funny thing is I agree with quite a bit of what you say (once I have worked out *** you mean) - but you can't expect to keep portraying people as uneducated half-wits and not expect someone to have a pop back can you!

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  • Bod66  |  August 12 2012, 10:39PM

    My God Ive just noticed that youve used the present tense when talking about Victorian families. Are you Victorian Dad from the comic Viz http://tinyurl.com/as8ovn http://tinyurl.com/d3elj7s

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  • Bod66  |  August 12 2012, 9:27PM

    Know your Enemy http://tinyurl.com/9rx5rx5

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  • Bod66  |  August 12 2012, 7:51PM

    MickMoo are you for real, Victorian values is that your bag?. I bet you cant wait for the next outbreak of Cholera. Lets only hope that HN51 which is predisposed towards the elderly and has a 90% fatality gets you first.... :-)

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  • Bod66  |  August 12 2012, 7:35PM

    Going out on a limb. Strange but true an I still have the paperwork to prove it. Sometime in the 00`s there was a project to install lights at Oldway Mansion, using the invoices dated around March( ie before the end of the tax year) for my collage portfollio( Complete wate of money but thats a different subject) the light fittings amounted to around £30000. Now the funny thing is apart from the new light install wasn`t really needed( £30000 not including 3-4 sparks for 3 weeks labour not including fixtures an fittings) was that around the back where the top cheese parks He`s Bentley there were a team of sparks from a rival company installing in the garage a top notch platic conduit sytem that as far as I could see was keeping the garage ie the Car warm ie with 4* wall mounted halogen heaters on push switch timers, at the time I was paying through the nose for my Council Tax......strange but true an I still have the papewrwork.

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  • MickMoo  |  August 12 2012, 7:18PM

    Uneducated people have to work long hours in low paid jobs. It doesn't break down the family unit. Most Victorian families has both parents and most of the kids working. In those days work was seen as a good thing, something that you should do. Then the middle class liberals came along and invented sitting at home on benefits.

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  • Bod66  |  August 12 2012, 7:04PM

    Good point MickMoo, but if you break it down your theory it is full of holes Lack of Education...well they been breading a genaration of ejits for a while so they believe any bull thrown at them. Goverment policies that lead to the breakdown of the family unit, ie ..not paying a living wage so both parents have to work themselves into the grave just to keep there head above water. Slap on the hand- Apart from the overcrowded prisions it costs around £40000 a year to keep them `banged up` Alcohol abuse- Free the Weed. It was a scheme invented by a American Pine tree devoloper to stop the mexicans from producing hemp in the 30`s ( google it). All in all I think your talking Bo**ocks

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  • MickMoo  |  August 12 2012, 11:08AM

    The biggest obsticle to the poor is lack of education. Poor parents, drug and alcohol abuse and a society that gives criminals a slap on the hand and says don't do it again (for the 100th time) but takes no further action.

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