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Care needed over new proposals
Everyone is aware that local authorities such as Bradford Council are having to tighten the purse strings as never before in a bid to rein in public finances.
The current Government’s austerity measures have seen council coffers squeezed, services lost and jobs under threat as public spending is cut back to the bone.
Councils are having to find new ways in which to save money, avoid spending money and claw back cash, especially after the Government recently announced it was cutting the money it pays to the council by ten per cent – £4.3 million in real terms.
But the latest proposals on the table from Bradford Council will no doubt anger a huge swathe of the district’s residents.
The plan up for consultation is to force the unemployed to start paying 25 per cent of the council tax that applies to all households, but which has previously been paid through benefits for the unemployed and those on very low incomes.
There may be those in the district who conscientiously pay their taxes and don’t see why the unemployed should be exempt from contributing to the public pot.
But the Council’s own report into the proposals admits that the plans would in all probability increase the level of poverty, debt and homelessness in Bradford – problems we have in abundance and which certainly do not need adding to.
Whether, as has been suggested, this is mere political brinkmanship in a bid to suggest the Lib-Dem/Tory Coalition is forcing the Labour-held Council into a particularly unwelcome position remains to be seen.
But the proposals and their impact upon Bradford’s citizens need to be looked at very carefully before any commitment is made.