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'Reluctant' decision made on council benefits
7:00am Wednesday 5th December 2012 in News
Bradford Council’s executive “reluctantly” agreed yesterday to changes in council tax benefit which will hit tens of thousands of people across the district.
The plans involve reducing the maximum council tax benefit for working age adults from April.
Pensioners will be protected from the cuts, but others, such as the unemployed, disabled, and families on low incomes, face having to pay up to 25 per cent more.
The move to scrap a discount of up to 100 per cent given to 34,000 in the district has come amid cuts of ten per cent to the amount the authority receives from the Government in council tax support, amounting to more than £4 million.
A total of 27,000 people, who receive a full discount, would be sent a bill with an amount to pay for the first time. The average weekly amount extra to pay is expected to be £3.75, although changes would continue to be means tested.
Bradford Council leader, Councillor David Green, told the decision-making executive: “This has been forced on us by the Government who has passed on the responsibility for council tax support to local government and refused to fully fund it.
“Local authorities have been struggling with the financial impact of these changes at a time when we are facing the biggest threat to funding.”
He added that the Labour group had not wanted to make these cuts, but had felt it had no choice put to pass them on. Otherwise it could have ended up with other services relied on by the most vulnerable being hit instead.
Other decisions made by the executive committee yesterday include:
- The introduction of three new dog control orders across the district which involves banning dogs from children's play areas, multi-activity areas and skateboard parks, as well as Muslim areas within Council-owned cemeteries; keeping dogs on a lead at cemeteries, certain ornamental gardens and two entire parks and bowling greens; and requiring owners to put their dog on a lead if asked by an authorised officer.
- A plan to stimulate economic development, investment and regeneration in Bradford city centre over the next decade will be drawn up by Council chiefs. The Bradford City Plan is expected to define and position Bradford's future direction to help create "a vibrant and successful city that everyone can be proud of ".
- Councillors also agreed to bring grounds maintenance works in south Bradford back within the authority after a contract expires at the end of March. Grounds maintenance is currently contracted out to Glendale Grounds Management in this area.
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