Bradford councillors clash on plans to scrap the maximum council tax benefit for unemployed (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford Council leader accuses Government of ‘slashing services’ while Labour group’s ‘caring’ image is rapped
Controversial plans to scrap the maximum council tax benefit for the unemployed is due to the Government “slashing the services” to the people of the district, the leader of Bradford Council has warned.
Councillors last night discussed the plans to reduce the discount of up to 100 per cent given to 34,000 working-age adults in the district at a meeting of the full Council, after a motion was put forward by Councillor Simon Cooke, the deputy leader of the Council’s Conservative group. The motion asked the Council “acknowledged the distress and hardship” the move could cause and “instructs officer to draw up alternative proposals to find the £4.5 million required”.
Councillors however decided to carry an amended proposal by the council leader Councillor David Green, asking that the Council recognised “the severity of the cuts handed down by Government” threatened the ongoing viability of Council services.
Coun Cooke told the meeting he did not have any problem with the principle of people paying towards “the services provided”, but said Labour should no longer describe itself as “caring”.
He said: “If you stand up to say you care for the vulnerable then you should be measured by your activities, not by your rhetoric.”
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.
Pensioners would 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.
A petition was presented to the Council by Karl Dallas, of the Don’t Tax Unemployed campaign group, which urged the Council to abandon the plans. The Council voted to refer the petition to the executive, where the plans will be discussed.
After the meeting Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, the Council’s Liberal Democrat leader, said: “It is indefensible for Labour to accept the income from taxing people with second homes and not to use that income to support the new scheme of help with Council Tax.”