Redbridge’s poorest households and those on benefits could be forced to pay more council tax
PUBLISHED: 17:45 28 November 2017 | UPDATED: 18:39 28 November 2017
Redbridge residents could be set for a significant increase in their council tax - and tax relief for the most vulnerable people could be cut.
Redbridge council propose cutting council tax reduction support from 80pc to 75pc which they estimate will save £300,000.
It was also revealed on Monday that taxpayers in the borough are facing an increase of almost five per cent in their bills under the councils proposals.
This reduction in tax relief would mean that eligible Band B households may need to pay an extra £57 a year at current council tax rates.
The council are asking residents their opinion on this proposal, among 28 proposals which they say equate to £7.3 million in savings.
Around 11,400 people in the borough could be affected by this change according to think tank the New Policy Institute.
Carla Ayrton, senior researcher with NPI, said: “We know that councils are facing very difficult decisions but we think they should think very carefully about the council tax support scheme because it impacts the residents who are on the lowest incomes.”
She added: “In general, council tax is quite an important arrear for people.
“It is a debt which can increase quite quickly if bailiffs are called and court summons are issued.”
Councillor Paul Canal, Redbridge Conservative group leader, slammed the decision.
He said: “I think it is outrageously cynical to expect the poorest in Redbridge to pay for three years of the council’s incompetence.
“Since 2014, they have wasted millions on prestige projects, redundancies and inefficiencies.
“Labour talk about helping the poor, but do nothing to achieve it. They should be ashamed of themselves.”
Since 2010, central government funding for local authority budget has been cut by 40 percent.
Local authorities have been able to compensate for this by raising money locally, meaning that their budgets are overall 26pc lower according to Full Fact – an independent fact-checking organisation.
Councillor Kam Rai, cabinet member for finance and support services, defended the proposals.
He said: “All local authorities are facing a time of uncertainty, given the lack of clarity from central government about future funding after the period of the current spending review which ends in March 2020.
“These are extremely challenging times for our council and local authorities have had to bear a significant level of funding cuts.
“I will be making the government aware of the rising demand pressures in Redbridge which should be taken into account.
Redbridge residents can share their views on this proposal, among 29 other, at: consultations.redbridge.gov.uk/s/budget1819
Feedback will be analysed and presented to the council on February 22 next year, after which the final budget will be decided.