Have your say: Are council tax benefit changes in Norfolk unfair?
A 'feeling of unfairness' will be created between Norfolk's communities by the government's attempts to cut council tax benefit, it is claimed.
And calls have been made for Norfolk County Council to urge the coalition to rethink its plans requiring local authorities to enforce the cuts, which, it is feared, will leave low-earners and unemployed people losing an average of 19pc of their benefit.
You can have your say on the changes at the bottom of this story.
More than 37,000 people around Norfolk will be affected by the changes to council tax benefit from April. The government wants to cut the annual �4.2bn council tax benefit bill by 10pc. To achieve this, district councils will be given control of handing out the payments, but will receive an average of 10pc less cash in their government grants.
Local authorities have to protect pensioners and are therefore left with a choice of cutting benefits for working-age claimants or making up the shortfall. Norwich City Council stands to lose �1.7m a year. George Nobbs, pictured, Labour group leader at the county council, has put forward a motion pushing for extra pressure to be put on the coalition to change the unpopular policy.
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The motion explains a recent report highlighted, among other reasons, working-age claimants will lose an average of 19pc of their benefit. The report, by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, adds if councils are unable to make up the cash shortfall, then the cuts will be passed onto claimants – a view echoed in council debates in Norfolk.
Mr Nobbs' motion concludes: 'For these reasons, Norfolk County Council believes that the decision to require local councils to not only make these cuts, but also to have to decide the criteria for implementation, will hit the most vulnerable of our citizens of working age, in both urban and rural area, and create inevitable anomalies between neighbouring local councils that will cause an understandable feeling of unfairness between our Norfolk communities.'
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What do you think about the council tax benefit changes? Have your say by leaving your comment below.