For Immediate Release
Campaign Group urges Nottingham City Council to heed its own warning on Council Tax Benefit changes
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Defend Council Tax Benefit Campaign  have written to Nottingham City Council asking them to take seriously their own criticism of their latest proposals for a Council Tax Benefit Support Scheme  for 2013/14 , and buy time and fight with local residents for a sustainable and fair alternative.
In their letter, the group say the new proposals are unsustainable, as they do not provide a long term solution to the funding crisis with Government free to keep cutting funds regardless of need. They quote Nottingham City Council Leader Jon Collins predicting “chaos” in trying to collect the money from benefit recipients. They point out that, under transitional funding rules, Nottingham City Council had the option not to pass on the cut to Council Tax Benefit, but have chosen to ask for the maximum amount of 8.5%. They also say that removing empty property council tax discounts and exemptions to part fund the scheme would be unfair and could penalise carers and other groups.
“These new proposals represent a shift away from a Council Tax Benefit scheme based on people’s real needs. A cut of 8.5% in your Council Tax benefit may look better than a cut of 20%, but it will still cause hardship and debt for people who have no money left at the end of the month, and will do nothing to prevent much bigger cuts in future years. We call on Nottingham City Council not to pass on these cuts to the poorest and most vulnerable people in Nottingham” – Chris Jackson, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Defend Council Tax Benefits.
Cathy Meadows: 07913476905
Notes: 1. Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Defend Council Tax Benefits Campaign is opposed to the proposed abolition of the Council Tax Benefit Scheme and its replacement by local Council Tax Schemes; campaigns for councils to refuse to pass on the cuts to its local community; supports those who are unable to pay their council tax due to the proposed changes; and calls on councils not to pursue those who are unable to pay their Council tax due to the council’s changes. Contact information below.
2. The current national Council Tax Benefit (CTB) scheme is being abolished under the Welfare Reform Act. All councils in England must bring in their own Council Tax Support scheme from April 2013, with less funding. In October, the government announced transitional funding for councils on condition that anyone previously entitled to full CTB will now receive at least 91.5%. On Dec 18, Nottingham City Council agreed to apply for Transitional Funding of £775,000, and changed its CTB Support Scheme accordingly:
· Putting a maximum limit on the amount of council tax support that could be paid to all working age people, so that working age households who got 100% help with their Council Tax bills now could receive a maximum of 91.5% help in 2013/14
· All working age households would pay at least 8.5% of their Council Tax bill in 2013/14
· No sharp reduction in support for those entering work. The following additional elements were recommended and included, following
· Consideration of the findings of our formal consultation exercise:
· Removal of Second Adult Rebate
· Retaining backdating
· Setting a minimum award level of 50p