Minister speaks out on council tax benefit cut

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THE Government has defended changes to council tax benefits which will see up to 30,000 Sheffield households receiving lower payments.

Sheffield Council said that implementing an overall 10 per cent cut to council tax benefits will hit households of working age to the tune of £3.76 per week.

But Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis defended the change, which is part of austerity measures.

He said: “Under the previous Government, the council tax benefit bill doubled nationally from £2 billion to over £4 billion.

“Previously, councils had little reason to keep the benefit bill down for taxpayers or tackle the £1 billion of fraud and error.

“It is right that our reforms help reduce the deficit by giving councils a financial stake in getting spending on council tax support back under control and helping people back to work and off benefits.”

The changes to council tax benefit, which come into force in April, will not affect pensioners, students or the 25 per cent discount for single persons’ households.