Almost three quarters of local authorities (71%) required all working-age claimants to pay at least the minimum contribution towards their council tax bill, according to the Public Accounts Committee.
They also found:
- There were only 133 authorities which provided exemptions only for pensioners and war pensioners, whom the Government insisted must be protected.
- Some 19 local authorities, representing 225,000 working-age claimants in England, increased the "taper rate" at which support is reduced as income rises from 20% under the old system - some 14 of them increasing it to 25% and four to 30%.
- Taper rate increases combined with the loss of housing benefit and increase to income tax and national insurance, would mean claimants taking on additional work they would lose 93p of every £1 they yearend on a 25% rate of 97p on a 30% rate
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Somewhat ironically, the Prime Minister's plans were leaked to The Mail on Sunday just days after they were issued.
Tonight it is set to become quite clear with a patchy frost in places. The breeze will keep much of the fog at bay.