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Rossendale's council tax benefit cut plans
4:00pm Wednesday 12th September 2012 in News
PLANS to overhaul the council tax benefit system in Rossendale look set to mean all those eligible will face a cut of 20 per cent.
The council is currently consulting with residents on the introduction of a local scheme to replace the current benefit as per Government policy.
In a report to council leaders, the Rossendale finance and resources cabinet member, Coun Patrick Marriott introduced preferred schemes.
He said: “Benefit would be calculated according to existing arrangements, and then subject to a 20 per cent reduction.
“In effect all council tax payers of working age will have to pay at least 20 per cent of their council tax bill.”
Coun Marriott attacked the transfer of responsibility from Government calling it ‘localisation of blame’ and described the new arrangements as regressive taxation He said it would hit the low paid and the vulnerable.
The introduction of the scheme would mean that those of working age currently entitled to full benefit, would have to find around £300 a year if they live in a Band C property.
Pensioners are protected from the cuts but groups who would be forced to pay more are the low paid, families with young children, those who are unemployed and the sick and disabled.
At the recent cabinet meeting Rossendale councillors were the first in East Lancashire to put a potential figure on the reduction.
But it has emerged that neighbouring authorities, Blackburn with Darwen and Burnley Councils, now have a similar preferred scheme of minimum payment of 20 per cent for all people of working age.
Blackburn council leader, Kate Hollern said: “The council tax benefit changes in particular are going to hit low paid families in work hard.”
A Burnley Council spokesman said: “We are in a three-month consultation that will last until October and a final decision will be made in December.”