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Redbridge parties clash over council tax relief cuts

PUBLISHED: 15:17 25 November 2015 | UPDATED: 17:11 25 November 2015

Cllr Ross Hatfull, cabinet member for housing, payments and benefits blamed severe central government cuts for the council tax relief cuts.

Cllr Ross Hatfull, cabinet member for housing, payments and benefits blamed severe central government cuts for the council tax relief cuts.

Archant

Labour’s proposals to cut council tax relief have come under fire from opposition parties in Redbridge.

The council tax reduction scheme helps working age people on low incomes pay council tax.

The council is considering increasing the minimum contribution from five per cent to 15pc, following a consultation.

Cllr Ross Hatfull, cabinet member for housing, payments and benefits said it was “difficult decision” but blamed “steep” government cuts of “around £100million”.

He added: “In the face of these severe cuts, we have been forced to consider increasing the minimum contribution for people on low incomes.

“We will continue to protect our most vulnerable residents by increasing our discretionary Hardship Fund.”

Opposition leader Cllr Paul Canal said he was left in “astonishment” at the news.

Cllr Canal said: “Last week there was wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Labour benches at the prospect of a cut to working families tax credits.

“Only five days later and they are cutting a scheme that Cllr Keith Prince put in place to protect poor and vulnerable residents”.

Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Ian Bond said the proposals make “a nonsense of Labour’s claim to be working for a ‘fairer’ borough”.

He added Cllr Wes Streeting had promised before the council elections in 2014 that council tax relief would not be cut.

Cllr Streeting, who is also the MP for Ilford North, told the Recorder local government cuts in George Osborne’s spending review “put Redbridge Council in an impossible position”.

He added: “I will be looking carefully at the room for manoeuvre we might have.”

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