Tories Raise Council Tax for The Poor & Vulnerable

Whilst Hillingdon’s Conservative administration claim that they are putting residents first by freezing the Council Tax, what they fail to admit is that this comes at a cost to the residents on low incomes and those residents who are vulnerable or disabled. At the meeting of the full council on Thursday 14th January 2016, the Tories pushed through a change to the Council Tax Reduction scheme, which is more commonly known as Council Tax Benefit.

The council tax reduction scheme for all pensioner and war widow households remains protected by legislation, meaning that the amount they pay cannot be changed, even if their charge is zero. But working age households on low incomes will see their Council tax rise. The amount of council tax being charged to those on the lowest incomes is being raised from 20% to 25%.

Vulnerable residents, which includes many disabled households, will also see their council tax increase. The amount of council tax being charged to vulnerable residents in the most challenging circumstances will rise from zero to 10%.

At the council meeting, Cllr Tony Eginton moved a Labour amendment to stop these changes. The action sought to protect the lowest paid, and most vulnerable residents in the borough, from these proposed rises in the amount of council tax that they pay.

During the debate Cllr Peter Curling (Lab) expressed deep concern for those in most need of help. They are the ones shouldering the financial burden of being unable to afford to heat their homes and needing to use food banks to feed their families. They are now having increased council tax when everyone else is having their council tax charges frozen. Cllr Curling also referred to the public consultation results report. In it, members of the public have expressed concerns regarding the fairness of dramatically raising council tax for the poor and vulnerable.

The Labour amendment was voted down although on the recorded vote for the implementation of the changes to the council tax reduction scheme, one Conservative Councillor, Cllr Shehryar Ahmad-Wallana, voted with the Labour group in opposing these changes.

After the meeting Cllr Curling said “This is an outrageous example of the Nasty Tory Party in action. The poorest and most vulnerable residents in our borough have just been kicked in the teeth by their council. The Tories use the mantra of “Putting Residents First” but, in practice, it is clear that this is not universal. It does not apply to those on low incomes or residents who are vulnerable due to disability or ill health. Once again we see the Tories attacking the least able to pay”.

Cllr Eginton added, “The Leader of the Council stated that this is Tory party policy. So it is quite clear that he is putting party politics before the poorest and most vulnerable residents. He may be protecting middle and high earning households from paying any extra council tax. But the least well off are paying more so that the better off don’t have to. Indeed, in the year after next, their policy implies that there will be even larger increases in tax for the poor and vulnerable. This is penalising people just because they are poor or ill. So much for putting residents first, which the Tories claim”.

The Council Agenda can be accessed Here:-

The Public Consultation Report can be accessed here:-

Download a PDF version of this Press Release Here:-

Council Tax Reduction 2016 Press Release