City councillors have unanimously agreed to put pressure on Norwich’s MPs over proposed changes to council tax benefits, which critics say will hit some of the poorest people in the city.

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The government plans to cut the national council tax benefit bill by 10pc next year and has told local councils they have to come up with their own support scheme to replace the current national system.

But Norwich City Council says it stands to lose £1.5m a year through that move and had been facing having to cut support to people on low earnings, with pensioners and the disabled protected from losing out.

A cross-party working group at City Hall had considered the issue, but councillors reluctant to save money by cutting support to people on low or no incomes have recommended keeping the existing scheme.

Instead, they plan to cover the cost by reducing council tax exemptions and discounts for second homes and empty properties, while using money collected through council tax to subsidise the scheme.

At a meeting of the full city council tonight, a motion was agreed urging Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and Norwich South MP Simon Wright to “make representations” to the government to get the proposed changes scrapped.

Alan Waters, deputy leader of the council, who put forward the motion, said of the shake-up: “This has no redeeming features and has been condemned by every political party.

“What the government should be doing is encouraging people to claim every benefit they can to see them through these difficult times.

“I am delighted we have unanimity across all groups about the damage this proposed change will have on people in the city.

“We came onto the council with the purpose of doing good, yet we face having to impose hardship on the most vulnerable people.”

Stephen Little, Green city councillor for Town Close, said: “It stinks as a piece of legislation”. while Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton, said it was “unpalatable”.

Norfolk County Council this week agreed call on the government to think again over the proposals, agreeing a motion put forward by Labour and amended by the Greens.

But the Lib Dems at County Hall were left fuming that their motion calling for a summit between councils and MPs to discuss the issues was not supported.

4 comments

  • I know we have a Socialist (Labour)Communist (Green) Council but what are the Council doing to meet the 20% spending cuts target or are they just falling back on the old tax the upper level workers mandate to raise revenue.

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    ChrisGroves

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

  • Council tax is already far too much,even on a modest occupational pension you pay the full amount! Councils have become little empires of non job employment,and should be cut drastically or abolished. At the end of the day councils are parastical organisations that create no real wealth,and create a burden on business,and often do not represent the opinions of their constituents,to get a rebate on council tax you have to be practically destitute,get rid of them,and get another layer of government off our backs!

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    Harry Rabinowitz

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

  • They dont honestly expect the self serving Norwich MP's to take any notice of this do they ?. They wont want to "rock the boat" !. As for Harry's blog. Agree 100%. Well said

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    "V"

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

  • That big old wad of 26pc of council tax, going to the the gold plated pension pot.. is one big reason why the poor will suffer in Norwich during the coming years...Unsustainable, simples.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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