450,000 in court due to council tax arrears
- 11 Oct
Around 450,000 vulnerable people have been summoned to court for failing to pay their council tax after government benefit cuts.
Carers, widows and war veterans are just some of the vulnerable people who are facing court due to being unable to pay their council tax after having their benefits cut.
Local government secretary, Hillary Benn, has said that the figures show that David Cameron has imposed a new poll tax that has disastrous consequences on the poor, so that many are now facing the threat of prison. "Disabled people should not be facing seizure of their possessions or even the threat of prison, simply because this poll tax is penalising them for being poor."
A survey conducted by Labour show that 156,563 vulnerable people were summoned to court between April and September after support for the means-tested council tax was cut by around 10% of the total. The government also instructed local authorities to decide how reduced benefits should be distributed, reports the Guardian.
Benn said: "David Cameron boasts about keeping council tax down, but last April he deliberately imposed a council tax increase on people on the lowest incomes, including hundreds of thousands of low-paid workers. To introduce it on the very same day that he cut taxes for millionaires shows exactly whose side he is on. The failure of this government to identify the number of people affected or to monitor the costs to the courts of all these summonses is negligent and irresponsible. "
Brandon Lewis, the local government minister, said: "This shoddy survey is contradicted by official statistics, which show arrears have fallen in the last year and the council tax collected has increased. In the last year of the Labour government, 3 million summons were issued for unpaid council tax.
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