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Households pay more to fund council tax shortfall
CUTS in council tax benefits worth £121,000 will take place in Worcester next year – with hundreds of households asked to pay more.
Worcester City Council has revealed a package of changes from April 2014 in response to government funding cuts.
As part of the alterations vulnerable people will be able to access a new £30,000 hardship fund so the poorest households can adjust.
Your Worcester News revealed in August that, by next spring, the city council must create its own council tax support system.
Currently, the council spends £6.7 million offering discounts to 5,000 households on their monthly council tax bill, but the Government is cutting the grant by 10 per cent from April.
Under a new system, options that would have hit some of the poorest in the city have been ruled out, but others will remain.
From then, people who have savings, stocks or shares worth £6,000 or more will be excluded from making a claim.
The second adult rebate, where a single person who shares a property with a low-income earner can claim a discount, is also being axed.
All payments of less than £5 a week are coming to an end, as is the option of making a backdated claim.
Previous proposals to take into account child maintenance payments or make all 4,939 discount holders pay something towards their bill, regardless of income, are set to be rejected.
The latest plan will go to the council’s Labour cabinet on Tuesday for backing, and if accepted a new consultation will take place. That will end on Wednesday, November 13, and a report will go to full council on Tuesday, November 26, for a vote.
Councillor Richard Boorn, the cabinet member responsible for finance, said: “We’re being forced to make these changes by central government, which is cutting the money we have available to help some of our poorest residents through council tax support.
“We have to make some changes, but we’re recommending the ones which do not affect our most vulnerable citizens. I’m pleased we’re also going to consider setting up a hardship fund to give financial support for those hardest hit.”
The cabinet will also be asked to back cutting the existing 50 per cent discount on short-term empty homes from six months to just two.
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