Millions face council tax rise

Millions of low-income households face a steep rise in their council tax bills from April, according to research published.

Labour: Council tax changes are not 'fair'

Labour's Shadow Local Government Secretary, Hilary Benn, has said that council tax changes which come into effect in April are not "fair".

He also said councils have been put in an "impossible position" by the government because they have passed on the responsibility for council tax support "but they haven't passed on the bucks".

Changes to Council Tax Benefit from April 2013

  • The existing Council Tax Benefit scheme will end on 31 March 2013.
  • A new scheme called Council Tax Support will be introduced from 1st April 2012 and it will be the responsibility of local authorities.
  • Councils in England have seen a 10% cut in the funding system, as a result some households may receive less benefit.
  • Under the new scheme pensioners will be protected.

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English councils accused of 'cheating their taxpayers'

On Monday, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles accused English councils are "cheating their taxpayers" by increasing local taxes in defiance of a national council tax freeze.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Pickles pledged to introduce new laws to force councils looking to increase council tax above a threshold of 2% to put their proposed rises to a referendum.

 Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles
Eric Pickles said councils were currently "treating residents with contempt” Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

He said the councils were currently "treating residents with contempt” by avoiding the Government's calls for restraint in local taxation.

Local government minister on new council tax changes

Our reforms will localise council tax support and give councils stronger incentives to support local firms, cut fraud, promote local enterprise and get people into work. We are ending the 'something for nothing' culture and making work pay.

Under the last government, council tax bills doubled.

The coalition Government has worked with councils to freeze council tax for two years, with a further freeze offered for this year.

We are cutting council tax in real terms for hard-working families and pensioners, and we are on the side of people who work hard and want to get on.

– Local government minister Brandon Lewis

Researchers: Council tax changes have major implications

Millions of low-income households face a steep rise in their council tax bills because of benefit changes that will take effect from April.

Researchers have warned that a variation in rates of council tax support could undermine the Government's new universal credit, which is meant to simplify the welfare system and ensure it always makes financial sense to take a job.

The axeing of council tax benefit has major implications for universal credit, which is supposed to be all about simplifying welfare and giving people a stronger incentive to work.

"These changes undermine both goals. There will now be a highly-complex and confusing patchwork of local support while the low-paid will keep even less of an extra pound in earnings than the Government has claimed."

– Matthew Pennycook, Resolution Foundation independent research group

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Households face steep council tax bill rise

Millions of low-income households face a steep rise in their council tax bills from April, according to research published today.

Some 74% of local authorities in England are planning to increase their demands on families whose council tax is currently discounted or even covered in full by the Government.

Houses
Some households face increases in bills of more than £600 a year, research suggests Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The study by the Resolution Foundation independent research group found that some councils were planning to charge affected households an extra 20% of the full council tax bill.