Tory plan for cuts rejected

First published in News

A SCHEME that would have cut council tax benefit for people on low incomes has been rejected following a victory by Basingstoke opposition councillors.

The ruling Tory administration had put forward a plan to reduce benefit payments by 30 per cent over three years, starting at 8.5 per cent in April.

But at the latest full council meeting, the proposal was defeated by a united opposition by 29 votes to 28.

According to Labour Norden councillor Paul Harvey, the Conservative proposal would have “pushed working families below the breadline”.

The decision means that 10,066 residents will see no change to their council tax benefits until at least April 2014.

Labour’s Popley West ward member Vivien Washbourne said the decision will help working families.

“These are people already on the edge,” she said. “People who are working but still need support to keep them above the poverty line.”

The Conservative administration put forward the proposed changes after the Government introduced measures for local councils to run their own council tax support schemes.

Funding from Government to local councils for council tax support schemes will fall by 10 per cent from April next year.

Basingstoke and Deane will be faced with a £71,000 shortfall, and Hampshire County Council with one of £607,000.

A Labour proposal, which was backed by the Liberal Democrats, the one UKIP councillor, and Independent members, will see extra cash used from an overhaul in council tax discounts – such as scrapping second home council tax discounts – as well as Government “transitional funding”, and £14,000 from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s savings, to avoid the need for cuts for one year.

Defending the original proposal, Conservative deputy council leader Ranil Jayawardena said the administration’s plan would still have protected the most vulnerable people from cuts to council tax support.

Comments (4)

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2:27pm Fri 28 Dec 12

ELLIS17 says...

At last some commonsense has been shown by local councillors,with the Liberals showing some backbone for a change.The second home tax discounts should have been abolished long ago,especially where owners were renting such homes out to students.Had the proposed cuts been introduced,more people would be ending up homeless.
At last some commonsense has been shown by local councillors,with the Liberals showing some backbone for a change.The second home tax discounts should have been abolished long ago,especially where owners were renting such homes out to students.Had the proposed cuts been introduced,more people would be ending up homeless. ELLIS17
  • Score: 0

7:08pm Fri 28 Dec 12

The _right_stuff says...

Good sense prevails, especially now there is no overall majority in the council.
Good sense prevails, especially now there is no overall majority in the council. The _right_stuff
  • Score: 0

10:37am Mon 31 Dec 12

Buster Preciation says...

If funding for these schemes is being cut by central government then the local authorities have two options - make similar cuts to what they give out or divert the money from another pot.
So to those that think this is good news where would they like the money to come from? And before we get the predictable response of cutting councillor expenses could I have a response that actually adds up?
If funding for these schemes is being cut by central government then the local authorities have two options - make similar cuts to what they give out or divert the money from another pot. So to those that think this is good news where would they like the money to come from? And before we get the predictable response of cutting councillor expenses could I have a response that actually adds up? Buster Preciation
  • Score: 0

2:30pm Mon 31 Dec 12

CllrCousens says...

Buster - one such place to fund the one year stop gap of funds is to use some of the £3.5m underspend for 2012.

We have said that we should be helping our residents rather than push them into further troubles. The Tory proposal would have lead to some horrendous consequences and did not have the support of the CAB.

It's also worth noting that other councils such as Hart and even the PM's have actioned what was passed on the night. That way it gives everyone time to find a positive solution.
Buster - one such place to fund the one year stop gap of funds is to use some of the £3.5m underspend for 2012. We have said that we should be helping our residents rather than push them into further troubles. The Tory proposal would have lead to some horrendous consequences and did not have the support of the CAB. It's also worth noting that other councils such as Hart and even the PM's have actioned what was passed on the night. That way it gives everyone time to find a positive solution. CllrCousens
  • Score: 0

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