From the Whitstable Gazette 08/09/2016
So Canterbury City Council are planning to cut the amount of support people get towards paying their council tax.
Currently the council operates a council tax support scheme (CTSS) which limits the amount people on low incomes have to pay towards their council tax to five percent.
According to the website: “The council has a difficult financial situation to manage over the coming years and will have to make savings and increase income. Part of these savings could come from the CTSS.”
Note the word “could”. This means there are other ways the council could make savings.
Meanwhile they want to know your views on the matter and have undertaken a public consultation. You can find it on the Canterbury City Council website (here).
There are thirteen options available, with a short video explaining each one.
The videos feature Mark Emery, head of customer delivery: EK services, giving a brief run down on each option in turn.
It’s all very matter-of-fact. For example, of the first option, Mr. Emery says:
“Currently, if you are a customer in receipt of council tax support, you’ll be paying a minimum of between five and six percent towards your council tax.
“Under this proposal that amount will simply increase to ten percent for everyone.”
What he means is that it is simple for the council to administer the proposal, not that it will be simple for the tax payer to pay.
The options become increasingly arcane the further down the list you go.
In fact, the sheer number of them makes you wonder if this isn’t a deliberate ploy to stop you reading to the end.
The only option which will actually help people is option thirteen, the last on the list, and the one you are least likely to read.
This proposes a scheme to help applicants who are suffering exceptional hardship.
What Mr Emery fails to mention is that the proposals will affect some of the most vulnerable people in our community: the poor, the disabled, people on zero hours contracts and the self-employed on low incomes.
Once again it is those who are least able to afford it who are expected to bear the brunt of austerity.
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- Council tax support scheme consultation – Canterbury City Council
Choose no for options 1-12, yes for option 13
CJ Stone is an author, columnist and feature writer. He has written seven books