Socialist Worker

‘Pickles’ poll tax’ creates postcode lottery for poor

Issue No. 2337

The Tories plan to cut council tax benefit funding by 10 percent in April—and leave councils to decide how to implement the cut.

Some councils, such as Tory-run Barnet in north London, will make unemployed people pay council tax for the first time.

Labour council opposition leader Alison Moore called the cut “Eric Pickles’ poll tax”.

Some 67,000 working age benefit claimants will be expected to pay the tax for the first time across Britain.

This will include around 162,000 low-paid workers.

The New Policy Institute estimates that they will face an average bill of £156 a year.

But because individual councils will decide who pays what, poorer people will face varying bills depending on where they live.

And Tory communities secretary Eric Pickles plans another cut next year.

This will mean that council tax benefit funding will have been cut by a fifth since the Tories came to office.

Some councils—such as Kirklees in west Yorkshire—are protecting some vulnerable groups from the cuts. But they are doing so by cutting other claimants even deeper.

Some claimants will lose nearly a third of their support.

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Tue 22 Jan 2013, 17:05 GMT
Issue No. 2337
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