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Changes to council tax benefit passed by Haringey Borough Council
Benefit claimants will have to pay towards their council tax bill following a decision by the council.
Members of Haringey Borough Council voted last week to make changes to council tax benefit which will mean every household of working age will have to pay a portion of their council tax bill.
The current benefit is being abolished by the Government from April this year, handing over responsibility to councils to create their own schemes.
Currently 25,560 households in Haringey receive 100 per cent council tax benefit, meaning they don't pay anything towards their council tax bill.
At the meeting of the full council on Thursday, January 17, councillors voted to adopt the new scheme, with 32 members voting in favour of the proposals and 22 voting against.
During the meeting cabinet member for finance Councillor Joe Goldberg attacked Liberal Democrats for the role their party played in abolishing the council tax benefit as part of the coalition government.
He said: “We are proposing the most just solutions to a fundamentally unjust coalition policy.”
He added the council would apply the policy as fairly as possible and under the new scheme those who currently receive 100 per cent council tax benefit will have to pay 20 per cent of their full council tax bill.
Lib Dem members hit out at the Labour council for not accepting a transitional grant from government, with opposition councillors voting against the proposals.
Lib Dem Councillor Paul Strang said: “The Government has made money available to councils to help with these changes to benefits. Haringey Council should have taken up this offer to help vulnerable people in the borough.
“Haringey has one of the highest council tax regimes in London. It is about time the council stopped hitting the vulnerable and started prioritising how to spend the money it already has.
“It is mean spirited to refuse the extra cash the government is offering."
Councillor Goldberg said in reply: “The transition grant was only announced extremely late in the process so much so it was a panic legislation which was fundamentally flawed.”
The Treasury is cutting council tax benefit funding by ten per cent, which is hoped it will save approximately £500million per year.
Under the proposals pensioners in Haringey who receive council tax will receive the same level of support.