Council digs deep to protect the vulnerable

Tim Swift
Tim Swift
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THE council is ready to set aside £600,000 to protect the most vulnerable people when changes to Council Tax Benefit come into effect next year.

Calderdale Council currently spends £16 million a year on Council Tax Benefit, which until now has been paid for by the Government.

From April, the benefit will be replaced by a Council Tax Support Scheme, which will be run locally by the council.

It will receive about 10 per cent less to support residents who are unable to pay their council tax bills.

To protect the most vulnerable, council leaders are proposing that in 2013/14 – the first year of the new scheme – everyone will continue to receive the same level of support as they do now, and they will set aside £600,000 to cover it.

Labour leader Coun Tim Swift (Town) said: “Cuts in Government funding to help pay for Council Tax support have put us in a difficult position. If we are forced to make changes, they will particularly affect low paid working families.

“I am pleased we are able to protect these people next year, but I fear that we will have to make tough decisions while trying to make the scheme as fair as possible in the future.”

The council’s deputy leader, Coun Janet Battye (Lib-Dem, Calder) said: “Our priority is to support the most vulnerable people, who would be most affected by the changes.”