|Council Confirms Tax Break For Low Income Families|
Town hall to cushion impact of nationwide changes to benefit rules
The council has finalised its response to a Goverment shake-up of the council tax benefit system and town hall finance chiefs have confirmed that low income families in Wandsworth are to be protected from higher council tax bills caused by nationwide changes to benefit rules.
A spokesman fro the council said:
The changes are happening nationally after the Government announced a ten per cent reduction in the funding it gives town halls to pay for council tax benefit. The picture in Wandsworth is in stark contrast with many other parts of the country where poorer families will be required to pay higher bills from April. Wandsworth is one of only a small number of councils that is maintaining the existing rules and protecting benefit entitlement at current levels.
Instead of forcing the poor to pay, the council will pick up the £580,000 cost of maintaining the current system. A recent council report stated:
The report concluded: “In maintaining a version of the current scheme into the next year the council will provide an element of stability for these low income households.”
Finance spokesman Cllr Guy Senior said:
“Here in Wandsworth, we want to do what we can to protect the low income families who are already struggling to pay their bills. With our long record as a low tax authority we do not wish to start increasing the tax burden for those least able to afford it.”
Council tax bills in Wandsworth are the lowest in the country. The borough’s Band D bill this financial year is £682, compared to a London average of more than £1,300.