Council tax benefit cut in York
3:30pm 6th August 2012
(Updated 5:11pm 6th August 2012)
The Government's decision to cut council tax benefit and protect only the elderly will leave the council deciding how to respond to a budget shortfall of £1.3m next year, leading councillors have been told.
The council's Cabinet were briefed last week on the financial impact of changes to grant funding for council tax benefit, highlighting the huge shortfall. The Cabinet must decide ready for next April how the shortfall will be met, with one option being to make the equivalent in cuts to services elsewhere. Alternatively, the Government's cut may need to be passed on to residents.
Labour Leader of City of York Council, Coun. James Alexander, said:
"This is an incredibly tough choice, and one that Tory council leaders in North Yorkshire are also not happy about. At a recent meeting of all North Yorkshire local Government leaders they voiced anger over the unfairness of this huge cut that is being seen as an attack on the working poor. The Government is delivering this cut in a way that seeks to avoid it shouldering responsibility for a decision it has taken.
"I know that many councils are going to pass this cut on to residents as they feel they have made the millions in cuts the Government has asked for, but are then hit with another hammer blow. It sounds to me as though most North Yorkshire councils are minded to do the same.
"In York we have not reached a decision but further service cuts are becoming more and more difficult to find. We are in power to protect the most vulnerable but it seems whatever we decide, this group of people will feel the impact yet again from this Government".
PICTURED: James Alexander
Below is a table and analysis of the changes relating to the Government's agreed council tax benefit cut from a council officer briefing to the council's Cabinet:
The impact of the protection provided to pensioners by the Government is that all the savings delivered through the cut in funding will be passed to working age customers. This will equate to approximately a 30% cut in working age customers' council tax support in York for the 2013/14 year based on the indicative figures provided by DCLG. The split between pension age and working age council tax benefit customers is set out at Table 1 below:
Cat Description No of Claims Annual Cost (£)
A Pensioner Income Support 3919 3,466,889
B Pensioner non-income support 2516 1,711,789
C Working age Income Support 3469 3,347,725
D Working age non-income support (vulnerable status) 227 155,423
E Working Age non-income support (all remaining customers) 2436 1,621,887
Total 12865 10,303,713
This means that £1.3m less in funding will be available for the Groups C to E above, based on the above 2012-13 figures.
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