Wakefield’s benefits claimants may have to pay their own council tax

Local elections. May 2008.'Graham Stokes. Labour. Knottingley.'w3843c819
Local elections. May 2008.'Graham Stokes. Labour. Knottingley.'w3843c819

PEOPLE claiming benefits will have to pay more council tax when a new scheme comes into place next year.

Wakefield Council will have to provide its own council tax benefit from April next year, when the government scraps its national scheme.

And a draft report of the scheme set to go before cabinet on Tuesday said it would work on the principle that everybody pays some council tax.

The report said at present some claimants receive benefits totalling 100 per cent of their council tax.

And people will get to have a say on the proposals from the middle of August until October.

Coun Graham Stokes, cabinet Member with responsibility for council tax, said the council would get an 11 per cent reduction in funding when the national scheme is scrapped.

And he said only pensioners would not be affected by the changes.

He said: “The council tax changes alone will lead to 19,000 claimants in Wakefield being worse off – and these are families who can least afford to lose out.”

Under the new scheme benefits would not be paid to those with large amounts of capital or savings.

And the cabinet report said it would encourage people to work in the way income would help to determine how much benefit they would get.

The council said the new scheme would have to be more simple, and provided in such a way that it does not add to the council’s funding gap, which is already at £95m over a six-year spell.

Coun Stokes added: “We are committed to protecting those most in need in our communities and will do all we can to make sure Wakefield’s local scheme is fair and recognises individual circumstances.

“We believe that everyone of working age should pay something.

“We are giving people the opportunity to tell us what they think and it is really important that we hear their views.”