In times of chronic austerity it is vital we protect those most in need. Therefore, at Full Council on the 19th of December, Ealing Labour took the decision to provide Council Tax Support to a number of vulnerable groups across the Borough, including those on certain benefits and low income households.
In April 2013 the Tory government passed on the running of Council Tax Support to local authorities, but with a 10% cut in the grant to maintain the scheme many Councils rolled back their coverage.
In Ealing we have made the decision to offer Council Tax Support to those in receipt of disability benefit, disability premium, severe & enhanced disability premium, disabled child premium, and to carers, care leavers under the age of 22 and lone parents with children under five.
This change has taken nearly 7,500 of our most vulnerable residents out of council tax all together and will come into force in April 2018.
Labour’s Council Leader, Cllr Julian Bell said of the change:
“Politicians often talk about ‘hard choices’ they need to make in order to justify painful decisions. This is not one of those issues. It is entirely right that we protect Ealing’s most vulnerable residents from the worst excesses of Tory austerity.
The government is closing services across the board and Ealing Council are feeling the squeeze with 65%of our revenue budget cut. This equates to savings of £265 million from 2010-2021. However, we still have the authority to set our Council Tax Support scheme to lift some of the burden from struggling residents and families and that is what we have done.”
Cllr Yvonne Johnson, Labour’s Cabinet Member for Finance said:
“Disabled residents, their carers and low income households have been hit particularly hard under seven years of Conservative government cuts.
This Labour administration has made a concerted effort not to pass on these cuts to residents by increasing core Council Tax, but in many of these most desperate cases it simply isn’t enough to keep it low and so we have made the right decision in lifting some residents out of Council Tax entirely.”