Blame the Government for people not paying council tax, says councillor

Councillor Richard Boorn, the former Labour cabinet member for finance

Councillor Richard Boorn, the former Labour cabinet member for finance

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

TOO many people are struggling to pay their council tax bills because the Government moved the goalposts, according to a former Worcester finance chief.

Councillor Richard Boorn, who was in charge of Worcester City Council's budget until June, says the blame needs to be laid at the door of ministers rather than struggling householders.

He also says Worcester has too many "low paid jobs", making the situation worse.

As your Worcester News exclusively revealed on Wednesday, in just one year 3,505 people have been slapped with court summons for dodging council tax bills, a staggering 48 per cent rise since 2010.

It led to the likes of Worcester MP Robin Walker questioning whether council tax is affordable for many people and urging bills to be frozen.

Cllr Boorn was part of the city's old Labour administration, now dumped from office, which did put bills up nearly two per cent in February.

He insists the rise - around £3.46 a year for the average household - pales into insignificance compared to Government cuts to council tax support schemes.

Back in April Government cuts in support for low income council tax payers led to £121,000 being slashed off the city's scheme.

The changes hit 5,000 households, including no discounts if it is calculated at less than £20 a month and no more backdated claims.

The 'second adult rebate', where a single person who shares a property with a low income earner could claim a discount, also no longer exists.

Cllr Boorn said: "Look at the facts, since 2010 people's average income has reduced by £1,600.

"We all know Worcester has many low paid jobs and nearly all the new ones being created are low-wage positions, well below the national average.

"Nobody seems to be able to grasp the nettle on this issue and that's why many people are struggling.

"The Government stopped its council tax support scheme which meant councils like Worcester have to provide it themselves now - that's another reason rather than a £3.46 increase."

Of the 3,505 people handed a court summons £250,000 was clawed back on behalf of taxpayers by magistrates.

A total of 2,995 people to got to court were handed liability orders, which means they must pay it all back plus costs or risk jail.

The new Conservative administration has already revealed it intends to call for a council tax freeze next year.

Comments (6)

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6:15pm Tue 15 Jul 14

Landy44 says...

Methinks he's missed the point.
Methinks he's missed the point. Landy44
  • Score: 6

9:02pm Tue 15 Jul 14

SgtAl says...

Perhaps people can't afford council tax because it is simply too expensive. Rather than pass the buck (looks like he's been taking lessons from central Government), would Councillor Boorn care to fully justify the way in which our council tax is spent?
Perhaps people can't afford council tax because it is simply too expensive. Rather than pass the buck (looks like he's been taking lessons from central Government), would Councillor Boorn care to fully justify the way in which our council tax is spent? SgtAl
  • Score: 8

10:10pm Tue 15 Jul 14

The Villan says...

What a load of rubbish from a councillor, who when in power, increased the council tax.

Is this gentleman suffering from amnesia or power envy now he's been removed?

The facts are there in black and white councillor, remember to engage brain prior to making comments next time!
What a load of rubbish from a councillor, who when in power, increased the council tax. Is this gentleman suffering from amnesia or power envy now he's been removed? The facts are there in black and white councillor, remember to engage brain prior to making comments next time! The Villan
  • Score: 9

1:45am Wed 16 Jul 14

Jabbadad says...

Me thinks that these three posters need to read carefully the news item to see where the discount / allowance, changes by the Government which were considerably more than £3.46 per year had a greater impact on those who were previously getting help with their Council tax.
Me thinks that these three posters need to read carefully the news item to see where the discount / allowance, changes by the Government which were considerably more than £3.46 per year had a greater impact on those who were previously getting help with their Council tax. Jabbadad
  • Score: -1

7:59pm Wed 16 Jul 14

SgtAl says...

jabbadad, the council actually had a choice as to how to apply the Council Tax Support benefit, they did not have to reduce payments/subsidies for the most needy. Granted this would have resulted in the council having to find savings elsewhere.

The assistance provided by central Government has only reduced by 10%, so why have the council (indeed most councils in England) chosen to reduce the support provided to the most needy by 35%?
jabbadad, the council actually had a choice as to how to apply the Council Tax Support benefit, they did not have to reduce payments/subsidies for the most needy. Granted this would have resulted in the council having to find savings elsewhere. The assistance provided by central Government has only reduced by 10%, so why have the council (indeed most councils in England) chosen to reduce the support provided to the most needy by 35%? SgtAl
  • Score: 0

11:38pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Jabbadad says...

Well the CONservatives will put this right when they don't increase the Council Tax for their rich buddies, and lets see if they restore the discounts for those who are the poorest???
Well the CONservatives will put this right when they don't increase the Council Tax for their rich buddies, and lets see if they restore the discounts for those who are the poorest??? Jabbadad
  • Score: 0

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