Cuts to council tax benefits are ‘unfair’

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A SOUTH Yorkshire MP claims planned changes to council benefits are like ‘the return of the poll tax’.

MPs debated the Local Government Finance Bill in the House Commons which includes plans to cut council tax benefit by £500m, or 10 per cent overall, but protect pensioners.

It means non-pensioners – including working people on low incomes – will face a cut of up to 20 per cent or £15 a week.

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey said: “Given the way in which the measure will work for many, it is a return of the poll tax: rushed into law and rushed into practice, with a deaf ear to local government, to charities, to experts and to members, who warn the Government they’re pushing too far, too fast.

“Let us remember a 20 per cent minimum payment expected of all people, whatever their means, was part of the flaw in, and at the heart of the unfairness of, the community charge. In practice, that is what we are building in for non-pensioners, a requirement to cover about 20 per cent of the council tax costs.”