PM’s local council joins revolt over benefits change

Council officials in the Prime Minister’s own constituency have expressed concern over government plans to ‘localise’ support arrangements for council tax payers on low incomes. An internal report, seen by the Observer newspaper, criticises plans to make local authorities responsible for the arrangements from April 2013 while cutting the budget for them by 10 per cent.

West Oxfordshire District Council says that after it has met legal obligations to protect vulnerable groups (pensioners, the disabled and families with children) the 10 per cent cut will mean that people on low earnings will be hit disproportionately. It estimates that working-age people who currently pay nothing will suddenly have to find £420 a year.

The council report also suggests the cost and inconvenience of collecting small sums from people without the means to pay threaten make the whole system unworkable. The council is therefore considering defying the government and postponing any change until 2014, making up the financial shortfall from other parts of its budget.

SourceThe Observer, 26 August 2012
LinkObserver report