Is this cruel or necessary?

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Opinion Web Tile
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SHOULD anyone be exempt from paying council tax?

The question can be asked after residents lost a High Court case against Sheffield Council’s decision to withdraw 100 per cent exemption from council tax.

Up to this year, several thousand of the city’s poorest people have received 100 per cent council tax benefits.

But the Government has cut funding for council tax benefits by 10 per cent, which is equal to around £5m in Sheffield.

Households which previously paid nothing will now have to pay at least 23 per cent of full council tax – at least around £5 per week.

Some will say it’s about time. There is much anger vented towards a benefits system which can sometimes appear to reward those who have done the least.

But we have to remember that this same system is a lifeline for many deserving cases and to suddenly have a bill when money is tight will be tough to take.

Time will tell whether this is a cruel move which hits the wrong people or one which was justified in such austere times.

We will monitor the situation with interest.

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A message to share

ABDOOL Gooljar is an example to us all.

The President of The Islamic Society of Great Britain has fought tirelessly to build bridges between faiths and races in Sheffield.

At a time when Islam is continually linked with negative stories, it is as well to remind ourselves what the religion truly stands for. Integration can only come with mutual understanding and Abdool’s message of peace and tolerance is one we can share.