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Councillors clash over proposal to cut council tax relief

PUBLISHED: 15:20 16 November 2016 | UPDATED: 09:29 17 November 2016

Redbridge Town Hall

Redbridge Town Hall

Archant

Labour’s proposal to cut support for working age residents to pay council tax has been branded disappointing by opposition parties.

It is part of a concerted effort by Redbridge Council to make £42.6million worth of savings over the next five years.

In its initial budget proposals, the party has suggested reducing the maximum subsidy for working age claimants from 85 per cent of the cost to 80pc.

A house receiving full council tax reduction from 2016 to 2017 would have to pay either £4.41 or £3.33 per week.

That equates to between £173 and £229 per year.

Pensioners will continue to receive a 100pc reduction.

Conservative group leader Cllr Paul Canal said the proposal would “punish the poor”.

He said: “This isn’t political spin.

“This scheme protects poor and vulnerable residents.

“At a time when this council is planning to go on a building and spending spree, they are punishing the poor.

“In 2013, MP Wes Streeting, a Labour councillor, promised at a Redbridge Citizens meeting that council tax relief would not be cut.”

Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Ian Bond agreed, describing the proposal as “extremely disappointing.”

He said: “I’m very unhappy about the way it’s happened.

“The majority of people affected are people working in low-paid jobs.”

Redbridge Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal defended the proposal, adding that he “wouldn’t be lectured” by his fellow party leaders.

He said: “We are doing the best we can.”

The proposal to reduce the subsidy by 15pc would still be “one of the most generous subsidies” across London, added Cllr Athwal.

He said: “Other councils have or are debating to reduce the subsidy to 60pc.

“We are not going anywhere near that.”

Cllr Athwal said Cllr Bond and Cllr Canal should write to the government about the cuts to the council budget.

He said: “How many of these politicans have written to to the government and asked why they are making those cuts?

“They won’t do anything that will help the residents.

“I won’t be lectured when they are just making noise.”

To see the full list of budget proposals and send your comments, click here.


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