Friday, 28 December 2012

Parish Capping by Liberal Led Northumberland County Council

Labour Group Fears for Council Tax and Parish Precept Capping

As part of the 2010 Spending Review the Government announced its intention to cut support for Council Tax from 2013-14 and to reduce expenditure on Council Tax benefit by 10%, they call it the Localisation of Benefit.
The scheme will be implemented by amending the Local Government Finance Act 1992. The new localised arrangements are central to delivering the Government’s commitment to reducing expenditure through cuts,  increased devolution of services through Localism  and ravaging benefits which both elements of the coalition Government believe will help to stimulate economic growth. This Government will only be providing a grant to fund 90% of the council tax benefit liability so the localised schemes have to address how to cope with the 10% shortfall in funding.

Liberal led Northumberland County Council chose to simply implement the cuts calling it the national scheme. They believe this will provide local authorities with the opportunity to reform the system of support for working age claimants.

Northumberland Labour Group believe this will damage the ability of some Parish Councils particularly the new larger Parishes in the South East of the County to support its constituents as they have done since 2009. Such service as assistance for Allotment Associations and staging local events may be damaged through this capping regime.

The capping identifies those who claim Council Tax Benefit and removes them from the criteria for precept thereby lowering the number of homes eligible in the calculation.

Leader of Northumberland Labour Group said:"This is simply Pickleism at its worst, I'm very concerned that in smaller Parishes affected by the cap Council Tax Benefit claimants may be identifiable, changing a benefit into a millstone. This is yet another attack on workers and their families and a taster of the attacks to come with Universal Credit. This County has many hundreds of people on minimum wage who have to claim benefit to support their families. But employers who pay the minimum wage will be faced with ever rising recruitment costs and constant turnover of staff if benefits become burdens." "Labour Group are also concerned that a cap on precept may lead to a major rise in reserves through a genuine fear of whats to come as the loss of trust in this coalition Government hits Parishes."

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