Tax changes are 'attack on the poor'
by Stella Jones
Less well-off people in Swale
will have to pay more towards their council tax from
A total of 7,900 residents
will have to find extra cash after Swale councillors agreed to
The Tory-led authority has
made the move after its central government grant was reduced from
£11.3m to around £10m.
The council tax support
benefit goes to people who either paid nothing towards their
council tax or who paid a nominal amount.
There are 5,400 residents who
currently make no contribution and this decision means that they
will have to pay around £78 a year towards it.
Around 2,500 homes currently
pay a reduced amount and they will have to find approximately £50 a
Cllr Angela Harrison (Lab)
made an emotional attack on the scheme, saying: "This is an attack
on the poor.
"The vast majority of these
are hard-working people working for low wages, while the rest of us
enjoy a freeze."
The council’s portfolio
holder for finance, Cllr Duncan Dewar-Whalley, admitted the change
was one the council had "struggled with" and had brought in
He said: "This has been
forced on us. I am not happy about it. We just didn’t have any
other option. We had to find the best way forward and we tried to
look at it as sympathetically as we were able."
A consultation was carried
out between July and October last year.
Some respondents said they
would not be able to afford to pay anything towards their council
tax and 70% asked for disabled people to have special
The council refused this as protections are already in
place for disabled people.
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