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Council Tax Benefit

Volume 587: debated on Monday 10 November 2014

13. What recent representations he has received on reform of council tax benefit; and if he will make a statement. (905962)

Local council tax support schemes are a matter for local authorities. An independent review of schemes will be carried out within three years, as set out in legislation.

The changes to council tax benefit that the Government have brought in are every bit as cruel as the evil bedroom tax and Thatcher’s poll tax. My local citizens advice bureau tells me that its new referrals to food banks have gone up from two a month to 10 a week. When will the Government stop attacking the poor?

One way in which we can get people to stop using food banks is to get them into a job, and this Government have delivered 1.8 million jobs for those individuals.

The New Policy Institute says that more than 200,000 families have been hit by both increases in council tax, due to the withdrawal of council tax support, and the bedroom tax. Will the Minister make a proper assessment of that tax double whammy on the least able to pay, and will he tell us why he is so keen to increase taxes on the poorest people?

This Government have frozen council tax for some five years, and in real terms it is 11% less than it was, which equates to a saving of more than £1,000 for an individual household. That is the Government’s track record.