The government’s decision to abolish Council Tax Benefit is pushing millions of people on low incomes deeper into poverty and debt.
Thousands of families in London face a choice between eating or heating because they now have to pay council tax of up to £13.46 a week on top of all their other household expenses. Many will be pushed into debt and dragged through the courts.
The additional charge on poorer households came into effect in April 2013 when local council tax support schemes replaced Council Tax Benefit. This left the individual London boroughs to decide who pays how much. At the same time, the government reduced funding for the schemes.
The average extra cost to low-income households will be £140 this year. It may not sound much but, for people on the breadline, having to find an extra few quid a week, every week, is pushing them into arrears. In Southwark alone around 9,000 people have been summonsed to appear in court thanks to the new scheme - often for arrears of as little as £50.
The high costs of recovering many small debts means councils have no chance of making up the government’s funding cuts. Punishing low- income households makes no financial sense. Local council tax support schemes are not only unfair and uneven, they are not fit for purpose.
That’s why Unite Community is campaigning to Restore 100% Council Tax Benefit, in conjunction with debt advice charity, Z2K. It’s a campaign we can win – even Tories are calling the new council tax support system, ‘the poll tax mark II’.
Restore 100% Council Tax Benefit
To support Unite Community’s Restore 100% CTB campaign, contact: Pilgrim Tucker on 07970 126249 or email