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In thinking the Govt have not thought through the changes to council tax benefit?

(148 Posts)
JakeBullet Thu 18-Oct-12 06:26:52

As of next April most of the poorest members of society will be asked to make a contribution to their council tax. There are real issues with this as for most families although the amounts will be smallish, perhaps amounting to less than £7 a week it comes at a time when they are already being squeezed financially.

The feeling amongst councils is that many will refuse to pay, especially if it is a stark choice between paying this amount or buying food. As the amounts are so small it will be uneconomic to go down a route of trying to enforce it.

I am a single parent and currently rely on benefits (my son is autistic), however because my family consists of just myself and DS it is likely that a small amount going back towards council tax will not pose a problem. The same might not be true for other families who for whatever reason find themselves on benefits.
I don't think the Govt have thought this one through and in reality what this will mean is that councils which supply vital services will face massive shortfalls.

I don't think the Govt have thought this one through.

Redline Thu 18-Oct-12 06:32:28

I agree with you - this deliberate provocation awful muckup affects me & my family to; IMO It can (& Will) spark massive revolts to our tinderbox of a country that is just Waiting for something like this to happen - If they're (Gov't) not Very careful? It could be the Poll Tax revolt all Over again & if it is? It Will topple them just as it did Thatcher............

Or maybe they Have thought it through? Maybe they Want what I'm predicting to happen? Who knows with the pigs & sloths disgracing the title of UK leaders anymore; Certainly not us - we never mattered to them & never will. They'll only notice us? When we're kicking the hanging stool out from under them or commanding the firing squads aimed at them & prob' not even Then - In short? Their sheer arrogance Will be their downfall in the end - Mark my words.........

sashh Thu 18-Oct-12 06:34:58

They have not thought much through at all.

Paying benfits monthly is going to be a nightmare for some people. I don't think they realise there is such a thing as a prepayment meter.

On the other hand they have thought through the demonising of people on benefits, particularly disability benefits.

They don't tell you that most people recieving benefits are working and the second biggest group is pensioners.

Lougle Thu 18-Oct-12 07:10:17

YANBU.

Each year, the minimum amount needed to survive at an acceptable (not comfortable) standard of living is set by the Government. That amount is set for each adult/couple, and each child.

The amount you contribute towards council tax is calculated by comparing the total income in the household, with the total allowances. Of any excess, 1/5 (20%) is deducted from the total council tax amount, and you pay the rest.

So, for example:

Weekly Allowances £300
Weekly Income £450
"excess" £150
20% of excess = £30
Weekly council tax = £24.86
Total benefit payable = £24.86 - £30= -£5.14
No benefit payable.

Weekly Allowances £300
Weekly Income £320
"excess" £20
20% of excess = £4
Weekly council tax = £24.86
Total benefit payable = £24.86 - £4= £20.86

The 20% was set very carefully because of the combined effect of different benefits giving a very high marginal rate of taxation. In other words, benefit claimants would otherwise find that the more they earned, the lower their income overall.

If, as has been suggested by my council, those in receipt of CTB have to contribute an additional 15%, above and beyond that as assessed above, they will, by definition, be forced into poverty, because the allowances above are based on the minimum needed to live.

JeezyOrangePips Thu 18-Oct-12 07:14:45

I'm surprised they don't already pay towards it. They had to with community charge

Having said that, it's was a bad Tory policy then, and it still would appear to be a bad Tory policy now.

Then, they justified it by putting up benefit rates to cover it. But the 'poll tax' charge was hugely variable throughout the country, and they increased everyone's benefits by the same blanket amount. (everyone had to pay I think 20% of the local charges).

It's crazy. What is the point of paying someone benefit just to take it back off them in a different way? And increase the costs of local authorities as they attempt to claw back the money?

Madness.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Oct-12 07:32:25

"What is the point of paying someone benefit just to take it back off them in a different way?"

Since most people in receipt of benefits are also earning a wage and therefore quite likely to be paying tax, pretty much everyone will be in a situation of receiving money only to have to pay some back to the Treasury. Council tax is just a local tax - the LDs would prefer a local income tax - so, in that regard, it's no different to income tax or even less direct things such as VAT, road fund tax, duty on alcohol/petrol/cigarettes etc.

JeezyOrangePips Thu 18-Oct-12 07:37:02

I was really referring to people whose only income is benefits.

Those who are working will usually be paying council tax anyway. The people affected by this will largely be those whose sole income comes from benefits.

I apologise for not making it clear.

flinkystanny Fri 19-Oct-12 04:02:25

Yes I agree Jeezy - it is an utter mess. It will all kick off in March when people on JSA/ESA have to start paying 10% CTax out of £71 a weeks' money. Single Person Discount is also going in a lot of LA's. The government have passed the buck to Local authorities yet again so they will be out of the main line of fire.

FunBagFreddie Fri 19-Oct-12 06:25:13

It's only a small amount, but it's a relatively large proportion of your income if you are on benefits. Imho a lot of the ConDems benefit change policies will probably lead to a higher crime rate as people struggle to even afford the basics. Look at the riots, I think we will see a repeat at some point, and what's happening in Greece could end up happening in the UK.

JakeBullet Fri 19-Oct-12 06:38:30

Yes, I thought about the riots too sad. Nothing quite like increasing poverty for causing civil unrest. It won't be the likes of me rioting but the huge numbers of disaffected young men already poor.

I am more concerned about how a potential drop in income from council tax might affect essential services.

ZombTEE Fri 19-Oct-12 06:38:42

Have they thought through any of the changes they've made until there has been public outcry and incredulity?

There will be riots. It's just a matter of when and for how long and how bad they will be.

I expect them to be worldwide soon, actually. Some have already started.

The have nots have had enough. The haves had better up their security.

FunBagFreddie Fri 19-Oct-12 06:41:46

Of course they know how these changes will affect people, they either genuinely don't give a toss, are implementing some sort of economic eugenic cleansing or they want civil unrest to bring in new draconian laws - or am I just being a bit of a conspiracy theorist?

Do they want these changes to cause civil unrest?

ZombTEE Fri 19-Oct-12 06:42:50

Fun I often wonder if they do.

Either that or they are truly truly the stupidest people in the world.

I am not sure which is more frightening.

FunBagFreddie Fri 19-Oct-12 06:45:43

ZombTEE, I honestly don't think it's stupidity, these people have think tanks and advisors who are highly educated and intelligent people, even if some of the politicians aren't.

EdithWeston Fri 19-Oct-12 06:47:42

"I expect them to be worldwide soon, actually. Some have already started.
The have nots have had enough. The haves had better up their security."

So true, and the huge increase in global inequality is so rarely acknowledged by the "haves". It is beginning to look as if the whole world is broke, and all attempt to reinflate the bubble have failed.

But the "haves" - NATO members, EU etc have excellent best security. The true "have nots" - the countries where not even safe drinking water is universally available - cannot assert themselves as they have neither arms nor the ability to mount attacks.

ZombTEE Fri 19-Oct-12 07:07:25

Oh I didn't mean the countries. I mean the individuals.

The mansion dwellers and the Porche owners and the ivory tower livers.

The individuals sitting in meeting and cabinet rooms and destroying the rest of us.

Those haves.

FunBagFreddie Fri 19-Oct-12 07:14:26

They probably just don't care, as long as they're alright and can pass their wealth down to their children, what happens to the poor is of no consequence to them imho. They live in a totally different world to us with a different set of rules for themselves.

EdithWeston Fri 19-Oct-12 07:15:43

My apologies : I thought you were raising the far sharper inequalities between countries, something which - on the same principle that have/have not principle - we should be doing far, far more about.

FunBagFreddie Fri 19-Oct-12 07:18:46

Edith You're right, and I see where you're coming from. We have charites of course, but how much of the money goes on 'administration'?

Meglet Fri 19-Oct-12 07:21:10

Is that true about single person discount being stopped for some councils? I don't get council tax benefit but I don't earn much so the single person discount saves me a bit of money.

ZombTEE Fri 19-Oct-12 07:25:36

I actually don't think we can fix the inequalities between countries issue until we even the playing field among individuals and fix our home issues.

I am American. The number one thing I hate about America is that they take care of the rest of the world before they take care of themselves. I had no idea the UK was the same way until I moved here.

Yes. We have to help our neighbours. But at the expensive of our own starving children?

flinkystanny Fri 19-Oct-12 07:59:10

Meglet - it seems to be something that councils have had available to them to consider.

JakeBullet Sun 21-Oct-12 09:36:24

The changes to Housing Benefit are,potentially even more terrifying. Do you know that if you have a three bedroom rented house and have two children of the same sex (currently each with their own room) they are expected to share a room until age 16? If that is YOU then you will be affected by the Bedroom Rate changes. .... You will be considerd to be under occupying with these changes....in fact this might need a thread all of its own.

loobydoopy Sun 21-Oct-12 09:46:33

Anyone see the panorama a few weeks ago where people on benefits waited at cashpoints at midnight and then spent the money on drugs and alcohol? It was so sad. I think giving food or food vouchers would be a better idea than cash.

GhostShip Sun 21-Oct-12 09:48:49

^

I went to asda before work the other day, there were people picking their benefit money up. Once they had they went straight to the alcohol aisle and got great big bottles of cider. Just what you want to see just before you start a 12 hour shift.

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